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Elberta

James P. Kaetz, Auburn University
Elberta is located in Baldwin County in the southernmost region of the state. It has a mayor/city council form of government. The town celebrates its German heritage twice a year in its German Sausage Festival.
History
In 1903, the Baldwin County Colonization Company, a group of German businessmen from Chicago, bought approximately 53,000 acres from a lumber company in Baldwin County where Elberta now stands, dividing it into 40-acre tracts with roads and schoolhouses already constructed. The company recruited German immigrants to settle in the area (much as was done in Cullman and Good Hope, both in Cullman County). The first hotel opened in 1904, and the first store opened in the hotel and later moved to its own building.
The first post office opened in 1928, and the town was named for the Elberta variety of peach. Elberta incorporated in 1952 and held its first election in February 1953. In September 1979, Hurricane Frederick caused widespread damage in the town, but it recovered enough to hold a celebration of its Diamond Jubilee (75 years) the month following the hurricane.
Demographics
According to 2016 Census estimates, Elberta recorded a population of 1,400. Of that number, 94.6 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 4.6 percent as Hispanic, 2.1 percent as African American, 2.1 percent as Native American, 0.8 percent as Asian, and 1.1 percent as two or more races. The town's median household income, according to 2010 Census estimates, was $30,750, and the per capita income was $21,185.
Employment
According to 2016 Census estimates, the workforce in Elberta was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Retail trade (34.7 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (15.9   percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (9.0 percent)
· Professional, scientific, and administrative and waste management   services (7.2 percent)
· Construction (6.7 percent)
· Manufacturing (6.0 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (5.4 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (4.7 percent)
· Public administration (4.0 percent)
· Wholesale trade (3.1 percent)
· Information (2.0 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (0.7 percent)
· Transportation, warehousing, and utilities (0.5 percent)
Education
Public schools in Elberta are part of the Baldwin County Public Schools and consist of one elementary school and one middle school that enroll approximately 1,025 students and employ approximately 65 teachers. There is also a private religious academy.
Transportation
Elberta lies on Interstate 98, which runs east-west through the town, and County Road 83, which runs north-south.
Events and Places of Interest
The town holds the Elberta German Sausage Festival on the last weekend of March and October each year; the event was created in 1978 to raise money for the volunteer fire department. The festival celebrates the local sausage developed by resident Alfred Stucki and includes German polka music, German-themed food booths, carnival rides, and dozens of arts and crafts vendors.
The Baldwin County Heritage Museum is housed in several buildings on a five-acre site and features exhibits and programming relating to the early history of the county. St. Mark's Lutheran Church (1925) is located in the museum complex and is listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. Elberta Town Park is located downtown and has a gazebo and a children's playscape. Elberta is also home to Bamahenge, a life-size replica of Great Britain's Stonehenge located at Barber Marina.

Additional Resources

Baldwin County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Baldwin County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2001.
Comings, L.J. Newcomb, and Martha M. Albers. A Brief History of Baldwin County. Fairhope, Ala.: Baldwin County Historical Society, 1928.
Published:  February 13, 2013   |   Last updated:  September 19, 2018