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Elberton is a ghost town on the north fork of the Palouse River northeast of Colfax and northwest of Palouse in Whitman County, Washington, United States. Elberton was first settled by C.D. Wilbur. The townsite was platted in 1886, and named by S.M. Wait for his deceased son Elbert. Elberton was incorporated as a fourth class town on 24 April 1896. It grew to have a population of 500 and at one time had a sawmill, a flour mill, a railroad (the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company) that passed through and the world’s largest prune dryer.
A major fire started in the town in the 1930s and due to the Great Depression, many of the businesses and homes destroyed by the fire were too costly to rebuild. The fire, along with the Depression hurt the town greatly and it started to decline in population, with people packing up what they could carry and abandoning their homes that they could no longer afford to keep and maintain.
24 April 1896
14 January 1966
Currently, about 15 people live in the 200-acre (0.81 km2) area that once was Elberton. Many of the homes and buildings have gone or are partially collapsed, with only their foundations and perennial gardens that still bloom to serve as a reminder of what once was. Visitors coming through the Palouse ghost town can enjoy the few buildings, homes, and landmarks that still remain today, such as the fully intact United Brethren Church and the Elberton Cemetery. They may also read about the town’s birth and death from the small plaque that was erected on the town’s site.
Elberton was disincorporated on 6 December 1966, a status that became official with the Secretary of State of Washington on 14 January 1966. Elberton became part of unincorporated Whitman County, Washington again within four years, when the county acquired the property of the town.