Gerald L. Holder

ELMINA, TEXAS. Elmina was on U.S. Highway 75 some twelve miles southeast of Huntsville in Walker County. It is believed that the town was named for the El Mina Masonic Temple in Galveston. The settlement started out in 1870 as a sawmill owned by Kit Oliphant, a lumberman of East Texas. In 1902 the Oliphant mill was sold to the Walker County Lumber Company, a branch of the Foster Lumber Company. After this, the mill expanded significantly, and by the mid-1920s Elmina had more than 200 residents. A post office opened there in 1903 and closed sometime after 1930. An early map of the settlement shows seventy-four company-owned houses, a post office, mill, hotel, drugstore, company store, movie house, church, storehouse, schoolhouse, cemetery, and spur-line railroad. Also, hundreds of people lived in camps in forested areas around the mill. The mill used more than twenty-five miles of tram railroads, known as the Elmina and Eastern Transportation Company; many of the railroad beds were still visible half a century later. The Elmina mill also provided electricity from 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. for local residents. A company physician, Dr. Henry Robertson, lived at the mill. The community had an eight-grade school and an "all-religion" Protestant church that was shared mainly by Baptists and Methodists. The Polish cemetery on the eastern side of the settlement was the burial ground used by St. Joseph's Catholic Church in New Waverly. The cemetery's name was later changed to Elmina Cemetery; in it are buried some Italians as well as Poles who worked in the Elmina mill. By 1930 available timber nearby had been consumed, and the Great Depression was in full swing. On September 13, 1931, a fire raged through the millsite and destroyed the main mill. The fire, combined with worsening economic conditions, finished the town by 1935. Its structures were either torn down or sold and removed from the site.

D'Anne McAdams Crews, ed., Huntsville and Walker County, Texas: A Bicentennial History (Huntsville, Texas: Sam Houston State University, 1976). Frances Scott, "A History of Elmina," Junior Historian, December 1965.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Gerald L. Holder, "ELMINA, TX," accessed July 19, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hve47.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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