Elizabethtown (Pennsylvania Dutch: Betzischteddel) is a borough in Lancaster County, 21 miles (34 km) southeast of Harrisburg. Small factories existed at the turn of the 20th century when the population in 1900 was 1,861. There was a slight increase in the next decade, with 1,970 people living in Elizabethtown in 1910. As of the 2010 census, the population of the borough was 11,545. Elizabethtown is commonly referred to in south-central Pennsylvania as "E-Town." This nickname is also used for the local college and high school.
There are two stories about the origin of the town's name. In one version it is named after Elizabeth Reeby, wife of Michael Reeby who sold the first building lots here in about 1795. Another version has it named after the wife of Captain Barnabas Hughes who purchased The Black Bear Tavern in 1750.
The officially accepted history is that, in 1753, Captain Barnabas Hughes acquired land and laid out a town, naming it for his wife, Elizabeth. The early settlers were primarily Scots-Irish and Pennsylvania Dutch.