Elliston is a census-designated place (CDP) between the cities of Roanoke and Christiansburg in Montgomery County, southwest Virginia. The population as of the 2010 Census was 902. It is home to a small fire department, an elementary school, two gas stations, a train stop, and several churches. Most of its residents do not work in Elliston, but choose to commute to larger towns. A set of railroad tracks separates the northwestern part of the town from the rest. US highway 11-460 further divides the town into two distinct neighborhoods, "Oldtown," which formed along the Valley Road in the 1850s, and "The Brake," a predominantly African-American area that developed after the Civil War.
Originally known as Big Spring, the town's depot was an important stopping point on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and later the Norfolk and Western. In the late 1880s, investors hoped to create a large industrial and railroad center there, to be known as Carnegie City. Instead, the railroad chose the Roanoke County town of Big Lick, later Roanoke, as the location for its main shops.