(OLD) Ellenton is a true ghost town, as it was physically relocated from its original location to a new spot, and renamed New Ellenton (2000 pop 2260). It was moved when the United States Government purchased some 200,000 acres of land along the Savannah River to be used in development of the Savannah River Nuclear Plant in the early 1950s. This forced move was not a popular one and there remain many disgruntled former citizens among the 6000 folks that were relocated.
When I was doing a little research into the history of this site back in 1984, I was ‘politely’ told to “mind my own business.” However, since then, the story is out there and more people are aware of the interesting history of this place. An outside website shares a little history of the old town.
The original site of Ellenton was established around 1870 as an agricultural community. It was incorporated as a town in 1880, and prospered. It began to decline in the 1930s, and by 1950 only had a population of about 760. Some of the 30 businesses included: churches, cotton gin, municipal buildings, two schools and a railroad station. In November, 1950 it was announced that a nuclear weapons manufacturing plant would be built to produce tritium and plutonium-239 for use in H-bombs. This plant would be erected along the Savannah River and would necessitate relocation of people in several communities, including Ellenton, Dunbarton and Meyers Mill.
One I highly recommend is the town of Ellenton. After World War II, the US Corps of Engineers surveyed the Savannah River Site (or “Bomb Plant” as the locals called it) for nuclear reactors and enriching uranium for nuclear bombs. The government moved out an entire town of people. As my grandfather told it, a lawyer (name withheld by GBS) made quite a sum of money by representing the displaced people in court. Ruins of this town still exist on the property of the Savannah River Site, but access is extremely limited. The town of “New Ellenton” is north of the old town.