Members of Company 783, Civilian Conservation Crops, at Camp Elma, ca. 1937
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Elma is a community on the Chehalis River twenty-seven miles west of Olympia in southeast Grays Harbor County. It was an once an important logging center and is now largely dependent on agriculture since the nearby Satsop Nuclear Power project was shut down. It was named for Miss Elma Austin, whose family settled in the vicinity before 1860. Two other name sources have been suggested. One is that the name is for Elmer E. Ellsworth, the first soldier to be killed in the Civil War, but with his given name shortened to the present form by post office officials. Another is that two residents of the town submitted the name Elmira when a post office was established, and that postal officials shortened the name to the present form because of another Almira in the state.