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About the Town of Gretna
The Town of Gretna, Virginia, previously known as Elba, is a Municipal Corporation and a Political Subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although the Town was incorporated in 1901, it’s history dates back a lot further. The Town of Gretna began when Edward N. Dillard deeded the land on which the Town is situated today, to Jeremiah Talbott as payment for Mr. Talbott substituting for Mr. Dillard during the Civil War (1861-1865). Of course this was legal and a common practice for wealthy landowners to do in those days.

The Town also has a lot of railroad history. In 1872, Jeremiah Talbott deeded to the Lynchburg & Danville Railroad a right-of-way, in consideration for the benefits from the railroad coming through the Town. Construction of the L & D Railroad began in 1872 and was completed in 1874. Then in 1879 the Franklin & Pittsylvania Railroad (F & P) was completed which began the Franklin Junction passenger and freight station, Elba Post Office and Gretna’s railroad heritage. This allowed for the passage of famous trains, like the Old 97, which came through this small Town before it’s famous wreck in 1903.

In 1700’s the Historical Yates Tavern, a frontier bed-n-breakfast, was built and still stands today. Pittsylvania County and Halifax County separated; Galveston Mills was built on Whitethorn Creek. Later in the 1800’s Jeremiah Talbott built the first house in Elba, followed by a hotel and a 2-room school. Soon Elba got its first doctor. In 1879 the first church built was Elba Methodist/Episcopal Church later becoming Anderson Memorial Church. In 1892 Elba Baptist Church was organized, later becoming First Baptist Church. The Anderson Lodge #258 A.F. and A.M. was organized in 1894. On March 21, 1914 Elba changed its name to Gretna. The name Gretna originated from Gretna Greens, in Scotland. The years have past; Gretna has continued to grow into a pleasant, friendly little southern town that continues to grow and prosper into the 21st century.

Currently, Gretna is home to over 1300 people and encompasses 1.2 square miles. It has retained its charming small town atmosphere with one stoplight, “home-cooking” restaurants, and friendly residents. The town’s close proximity to the juncture of Routes 29 and Routes 40 offers potential economic growth for existing and future businesses and Industry.

The Town is located just a few miles from Smith Mountain and Leesville Lakes; neighboring Towns are Hurt, Chatham and Altavista.


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