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The town was founded in 1886 by families from St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Omaha, Nebraska. It was named for Elmer Ellsworth, who organized the colonists but was killed before they moved to Clark County. In 1957, there was an attempt to change the name of the main road in a county street numbering scheme, but the local citizenry “petitioned successfully to keep a name they said had a 75-year history.

Ellsworth is now a suburb community of Vancouver and Camas. West of Ellsworth prune orchards were abundant. In the spring their pink blossoms softened the landscape and their heavy, fragrant odor scented the air. Large drying bins for the ripe, picked fruit stood in each orchard.