Elsa is at the intersection of State Highway 107 and Farm Road 88, some seventeen miles northeast of McAllen in east central Hidalgo County. It is on land that was a part of the Llano Grande land grant issued to Juan José Ynojosa de Ballí, and the area was settled by ranchers before 1800. The ranchers introduced cattle and sheep ranching and various crops to the area. After 1850 two ranches in the vicinity were Laguna Seca ("Dry Lagoon"), owned by Macedonio Vela, and La Bota ("the Boot"), owned by Miguel Fernández. Anglo-Americans did not settle in the area until the early 1900s, with the introduction of truck farming. The Elsa community was laid out on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad in 1927 and named for Elsa George, wife of a local landowner. By 1930 the town had a population of 400, sixteen businesses, three churches, and a school. In 1940 Elsa was incorporated, and its population was estimated at 1,006. By 1957 the community had the railroad stop, a school, a church, some sixty-five businesses, and an estimated population of 3,179. By 1978 its population was estimated at 5,174. In 1990 Elsa had an estimated population of 5,242 and shared a high school with its neighbor Edcouch. Elsa's population was 5,549 in 2000.