April 13, 1853
The town of Elba was incorporated officially. The seat of Coffee County, Elba is located where Whitewater Creek and Pea River join. Originally known as Bridgeville in the early 1830s, the name was changed to Bentonville in 1850 to honor Co. Thomas H. Benton, who fought in the Creek War of 1813-14. Citizens agreed to choose a different name the next year; suggested names were placed in a hat, and Elba, after the island to which Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled, was selected. Elba has suffered many destructive floods in its history, the worst of which, in terms of dollar cost, was March 17, 1990. The Pea River crested at 48 feet, and a broken levee on Whitewater Creek put the entire town under water for four days.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Flooding in Elba in 1929. Emergency airlift was organized from the Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. (U.S. Army, Wikipedia)
The childhood home of two-term Alabama governor James “Big Jim” Folsom Sr. in Elba, Coffee County. The structure sits next to the old county jail. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photograph by Jimmy Emerson)
Farmers Exchange co-op hatchery in Elba, 1941. (Photograph by John Collier Jr., Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
Group of men and women at evening class conducted by Miss Velma Patterson, vocational home economic worker from Elba, and by other vocational agricultural teachers, at the Mount Zion school, 1939. (Photograph by Marion Post Wolcott, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
At a meeting of the Clark Hill Club, conducted by Miss Velma Patterson, vocational field worker from Elba, at the home of FSA (Farm Security Administration) project family, 1939. The women discuss materials for clothing and curtains. (Photograph by Marion Post Wolcott, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
Coffee County Courthouse in Elba, 2010. (The George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
The Veterans Memorial Park in Elba, Coffee County, honors the county’s veterans of all five branches of the U.S. armed services. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Tourism Department)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.