Elsa is located at the intersection of Hwy 107 and FM-88, on land that was part of the Llano Grande land grant issued to Juan Jose Ynojosa de Balli, and the area was settled by ranchers before 1800. After 1850, two significant ranches in the area were Laguna Seca, owned by Macedenio Vela; and La Bota, owned by Miguel Fernandez.
Anglo-Americans didnít settle the area until the 1900s. During the early 1900s, land speculators began to buy up the land that was to become the Delta Area of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. After World War I, people from the northern part of the United States were invited to visit the area, and representatives of the land companies sold property to anyone who had the money to buy.
People from all parts of the nation began moving south. Mercedes, Donna, and Edinburg were small towns then, and the area now known as the Delta Area was, for the most part, unsettled. Weslaco was a newer town, developed by the land company from which it derived its name.
Among the first to settle the Delta area was R.R. Hill, who built a store on what is now known as FM-1015 and Mile 16-N, south of the current location of Edcouch. Not wanting to send his children 15 miles to Edinburg, Mr. Adolph Carlson donated a couple of acres of land at the corner of Mile 4-W and Mile 17-N for the purpose of building a school. Located at the current location of the Edcouch-Elsa High School, the Carlson School soon became a community center.
Realizing that the railroad would be coming through the area, land promoters began lobbying for it to run through their property. Mr. Ed Couch, a Weslaco land promoter and banker, owned property north of Elsa on Mile 17-N. Hoping for the railroad to come to his property, he secured a right of way. Not to be outdone, Mr. William George worked to influence the railroad to go through his property north of Mile 16-N, the location of the new town of Elsa. Mr. George proved to have the greater influence in this area and the railroad was built just north of Hwy 107, which would have been the equivalent of Mile 16 1/2-N.
The first Mayor for the City of Elsa was Mr. Melvin Giese, who was mayor from 1927 to 1953.
The Canal Banking Corporation, Elsaís first bank, managed to survive the depression but sold out to the 1st National Bank of Mercedes a few years later. Elsa was without a bank for 5 years, until the Elsa State Bank opened for business. Today it has two banks -- the Elsa State Bank, located on the west side of town, and the 1st National Bank, near the Edcouch-Elsa border.
Hurricanes, fires, and the depression had its toll on the Delta area. Both Edcouch and Elsa are a shadow of what they used to be. There is very little industry, although Elsa has managed to attract many more small businesses than its neighbor to the east. Both localities are essentially bedroom communities, but Elsa appears to have more room for growth, demonstrated in an abundance of new housing appearing to the north, south, and west. As of January 1, 2002, the population of Elsa was estimated at 5,760.