Ella A Legendary Boom Town
Ella is located just below Round Hill and is 10 miles southwest of Durand. Ella is over 100 years old and over that time it has been known by three different names: Ella by road, Maxville by railroad , and Shoo Fly by the river. It is one of just a few townships to go by more than one name. It was originally named after a dughter of a steamboat captian. Ella was founded in October 1871 and by 1882 it had fifty residents, with a post office, general store, a sawmill ,a district school and Lutheran and Methodist churches. Over time more and more people came by way of the river's log drives, keel boats and the Steamboats.
The paddle wheeler, Red Wing, made stops on its trip up and down the Chippewa. People also streamed into the town by the railroad and also with the improvement of the roads. The train moved from Wabasha to Durand. The cost of a train ride to Durand was only 15 cents. The people who passed though always got a very scenic ride, and that was one reason for the tourists. People would come just to see the beauty of the area. With the number of people who passed through town, Ella had to add another part to the town. So they had an uptown and a downtown with two stores and two hotels to lodge people. The two hotels were good for all the businesses because many people stopped in the great town of Ella.
Here is a look inside one of the stores. If you were lost you could always find a helping hand in the stores. They had all the necessities and if you were lost they had maps on hand.
Ella always had festivities to keep visitors occupied, and friendly people to meet, but over time that didn't keep the town's business going. Eventually the river became to low for the steamboats, and the rail road was shut down, and better roads were developed for faster travel. The town slowly disappeared and today the town is unincorporated and not even on a map. Now the town has just one part; the downtown remains. No businesses remain in Ella since the last business was Anderson's Gas Station, and auto implement, but that when out of business in April of 1992. The Dock for the Steamboats is gone and there is just a little dock at the boat landing. The population of the whole town is about 12 people or 4 families. The school is gone but there still is a church, which it is not in use. Ella is now a forgotten town.
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