Elberta


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 to its own building. The relatively cheap land prices encouraged many settlers to come to Elberta.

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. However, the town recovered enough to still hold a celebration of its Diamond Jubilee (75 years) the month following the hurricane.

Demographics 

According to the 2010 Census, Elberta had a population of 1,498. Of that number, 92.9 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 5.3 percent as Hispanic, 2.0 percent as two or more races, 1.4 percent as African American, 0.8 percent as Asian, 0.3 percent as Native American, and 0.1 as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. The town's median household income, according to 2010 Census estimates, was $30,161, and the per capita income was $17,027.

Employment 

According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Elberta was divided among the following industrial categories:

· Manufacturing (8.4 percent)
· Retail trade (12.9 percent)
· Construction (8.2 percent)
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (11.8   percent)
· Wholesale trade (0.4 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (6.9   percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services   (14.5 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (9.2 percent)
· Transportation, warehousing, and utilities (1.5 percent)
· Professional, scientific, and administrative and waste management   services (18.0 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (1.6 percent)
· Public administration (4.6 percent)
· Information (2.0 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.

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.

James P. Kaetz
Auburn University


Published February 13, 2013
Last updated February 13, 2013