History of the Village

First settled in 1802 by John Young as Pine Hill sometimes called “The Pinery,” it wasn’t until 1894 that Elba was incorporated and became the Village of Elba. The name “Pine Hill” was derived from a Native American name for the area, but “Elba” comes from a little island off the coast of Tuscany, Italy.

The Village of Elba is approximately one square mile surrounded by rich fertile soils, including muckland (black dirt) which helped to bring early settlers to the area. Our residents refer to Elba as the Onion Capital of the World as we are one of the largest onion producers in the country.

In the late 1800’s the center of the Village was a vibrant business and industrial center. Located near the intersection of Main, Mechanic and Chapel, you could find the Elba Hotel, Tornado Windmill Company, a tannery, grocery, crockery, machinery and stave yard. Elba was also the first place in New York State to have rural mail carriers. In 1886 Russell Crosby was sworn in as the first rural carrier in the United States.

Our quaint Village includes one school containing grades Pre-K through 12, four churches, the Elba Fire District, and two cemeteries. Businesses include a restaurant, two catering businesses, auto service center, hairdresser, two gyms, party hall, candy/craft store, antique/feed store, pizzeria, metal working shop, bottle redemption store

History of the Onion Queen

Selection of a queen began in 1947 when five girls were selected from ECS to compete for the crown.  That format remained the same for 1948 & 1949.

In 1950, the format was changed, each school in Genesee & Orleans counties were allowed to sponsor one candidate.  That year there were ten candidates, with Nancy Whaley of Pavilion being the winner.  Barbara Jakaub represented ECS.

In 1951, no contest was held.  It appears that NYS had instituted a ban on bingo and without that revenue; the Elba firemen were unable to support the contest.  It appears that no contest was held in 1952 or 1952.

Funds were necessary, inasmuch as the Onion Queen would be sent to the New York State Fair in Syracuse to represent the onion industry; competing against queens representing other agricultural industries (dairy, tomato, applet, etc.)

In 1954, the contest returned with candidates being sponsored by local fire departments.  Miss Sally Adams of East Pembroke being the winner, while; Caroline Vigneri represented Elba.

In 1952, Ann Warboys and Joyce Hoover represented Elba in Genesee County’s Sesquicentennial celebration.  Mary Ellen Barber of Bergen won that crown.