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Elberton, Georgia

Elberton is the largest city in Elbert County, Georgia, United States. The population was 4,743 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Elbert County and serves as a hub for industry and small business in Northeast Georgia. Founded in 1803, Elberton is known as the "Granite Capital of the World.

Geography

Elberton is located at (34.109628, -82.865669). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.0 square miles (10.4 km²), of which, 3.96 square miles (10.3 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.50%) is water.

Government

Elberton operates under a Council-Manager form of government. In this style of government, the city manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city, the five-person elected council serves as a board of directors, and the mayor performs more ceremonial duties and presides over council meetings, although Elberton mayors have traditionally taken a more active role in running the city.

The City of Elberton also operates Elberton Utilities, a comprehensive utility system which includes electric, gas, water, sewer, cable television, and internet services; Elberton Public Works, which provides solid waste and street cleaning services and operates the city's cemeteries; Main Street Elberton, which promotes development in the downtown area; and the Elbert Theatre, which reopened in 2001 after extensive renovations and now hosts numerous productions throughout the year. The city is also the primary benefactor of the Development Authority of Elberton, Elbert County, and Bowman.

For over twenty years, Elberton has been the sister city of Mure, Kagawa, Japan. Students have the opportunity each year to participate in an exchange program sponsored by the two cities.

The City of Elberton was named a Georgia City of Excellence by the Georgia Municipal Association in 2002 and received commendation as a Trendsetter by Georgia Trend Magazine in 2005. The city was also selected to host the Georgia Literary Festival in 2005 for the area's contributions to literature.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,743 people, 1,985 households, and 1,274 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,183.4 people per square mile (456.7/km²). There were 2,265 housing units at an average density of 565.1/sq mi (218.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.33% White, 37.99% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 1.33% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.21% of the population.

There were 1,985 households out of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.9% were married couples living together, 21.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.8% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 82.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,246, and the median income for a family was $31,154. Males had a median income of $29,277 versus $19,470 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,486. About 21.3% of families and 24.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.3% of those under age 18 and 22.0% of those age 65 or over.

Income statistics are somewhat skewed, however, by an odd distribution of wealth in Elberton and Elbert County. The granite industry creates a large upper-middle/upper class and a large working class, with a relatively small middle class. Overall, Elbert County is fairly wealthy, though some statistics suggest otherwise.

Granite

Elberton claims the title "Granite Capital of the World," annually producing more granite products than any other city in the world. The city's post-Civil War history has largely revolved around the industry, following the opening of the first commercial quarry and manufacturing plant by Dr. Nathaniel Long in 1889. As the industry grew in the early 1900s, so did Elberton's importance on the passenger and freight railroad lines, bringing many travelers and businessmen to the city and leading to its heyday.

Several granite monuments, including the Georgia Guidestones, are located in or near Elberton. For more information on the city's granite industry, see the Elberton Granite Association website

Elberton's famed Granite Bowl has been recognized on multiple occasions as one of America's most unusual high school football stadiums. The venue seats 20,000 and features the former Sanford Stadium (University of Georgia) scoreboard. The size of the venue, combined with the historical success of the Elbert County football program, creates an atmosphere like few others in high school football.

Southeastern Power

Since 1950, Elberton has served as the headquarters of the Southeastern Power Administration, a division of the United States Department of Energy. The authority markets power generated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers across the southern United States. The authority recently moved from its downtown headquarters in the former Samuel Elbert Hotel to a new building on Athens Tech Drive on the western end of the city.

Education

Public

The city is served by the Elbert County School District. Five elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school are located within the city. The school system is one of the county's largest employers.

Private

Elberton Christian School is located on Rhodes Drive in the city.

Athens Christian School, located in nearby Athens, also provides bus service to Elberton.

Higher Education

Athens Technical College operates a full satellite campus on the western end of the city.

Colleges in nearby cities include the University of Georgia, Emmanuel College, Anderson University, Clemson University, and Gainesville College.

Healthcare

Elbert Memorial Hospital, located at the corner of Laurel and Chestnut streets, has provided medical care to the Elberton region since 1950. Then-Governor Herman Talmadge presided over the dedication of the facility, calling it "one of the nation's finest. The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission.

Today, Elbert Memorial is a 52-bed acute care general hospital with emergency, surgical, and rehabilitation facilities, as well as a wellness center, cafeteria, and gift shop. The hospital is currently researching potential expansion opportunities, either through an extensive reworking of the current facility or by moving to a new location.

Other nearby hospitals include Athens Regional Medical Center and St. Mary's Hospital in Athens and Anderson Area Medical Center (AnMed) in Anderson, South Carolina.

Local Media

Elberton is currently served by one newspaper, The Elberton Star, though several others (including the Elbert County Examiner and the Elbert Beacon, both of which merged with the Star) have covered the city over the years. The Star has been published since 1887.

The Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail also publishes a daily Northeast Georgia edition which covers the Elberton area.

The city is served by four local radio stations. WSGC-AM 1400, which plays an oldies format, is one of Georgia's oldest, having been on the air since 1946. WSGC-FM 92.1 and WXKT-FM 100.1 play country music while WLVX-FM 105.1 specializes in R&B.

Elberton is in the Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville television market, though local cable and satellite providers also carry stations from the Atlanta market.

Transportation

Highways

Georgia State Routes 17, 72, 77 and 77 Connector pass through the city. Heard, Oliver, Church, and McIntosh Streets are the primary thoroughfares downtown while College Avenue and Elbert Street bypass the downtown area and serve as the major routes through the city.

Interstate 85 exits for Elberton include exits 160 (SR 51), 173 (SR 17) and 177 (SR 77). The city can also be reached from Interstate 20 via two exits - SR 77 (exit 154) and US 78/SR 17 (exit 172).

Georgia State Route 72 connects Elberton with Athens to the west and Charlotte, North Carolina, to the east, while State Route 77 connects to Lexington and Hartwell. State Route 17 stretches from the North Georgia mountains to the coast at Savannah. State Route 368 begins just north of the city and links Elberton to Anderson, South Carolina.

Plans for the proposed Interstate 3 have the highway passing through Elberton.

Airports

Elberton and Elbert County are served locally by the Elbert County-Patz Field Airport, located just east of the city on State Route 72.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is located 100 miles west of Elberton, while Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport is located 75 miles to the east.

Regional air transportation is available in the nearby cities of Athens and Anderson, South Carolina.

Railroad

For many years, Elberton was an important passenger and freight stop on the main line of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. The line is now operated by CSX Transportation and remains in use for freight transportation. A spur line also connects Elberton to a main line of the Norfolk Southern Railway (formerly Southern Railway).

Notable Residents

The Elberton area has served as home for many politicians and noted citizens, especially during the era of Petersburg.

Politicians

Historical Figures

Arts

  • Corra Harris, early 20th century author, lived at Farm Hill
  • Baby Tate (Charles Henry Tate), jazz musician

Athletics

References

External links

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