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“N” is for New Ellenton

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“N” is for New Ellenton (Aiken County; 2020 population 2,189). New Ellenton was an offspring of the cold war in South Carolina and considered by many locals to have been “the first victim of the H-bomb.” Incorporated in 1952, the town was the reincarnation of the town of Ellenton that dated to the 1870s. Ellenton’s quiet existence came to an abrupt end following the announcement by the Atomic Energy Commission in November 1950 of plans for the massive Savannah River Site nuclear weapons facility in Barnwell and Aiken Counties. “New” Ellenton began as a two hundred acre development. As thousands of workers moved to the area to work on construction of the plant, New Ellenton grew rapidly. Since1980 New Ellenton’s retail trade has been siphoned off by nearby larger cities and its population has declined.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.