South Elgin is rich in history, culture, recreation and natural beauty. Long before Illinois' early settlers moved into the region during the nineteenth century, the Fox River carved out a picturesque valley through northeastern Illinois. By 1835, the Fox River Valley was established and a small settlement emerged with a blacksmith shop, flour mills and a quarry that was known as Clintonville. In the mid-1880's the Clintonville Post Office changed its name to South Elgin and the area was incorporated as the Village of South Elgin on April 20, 1897. The Village slowly grew and evolved from a rural farming community and railroad dept, to a thriving modern community.
Residents enjoy the natural beauty of the Fox River, and live close to work and school. In 2007, Money Magazine ranked South Elgin as one of the Best Places to Live in the United States for economic oppportunity, excellent schools, safe streets, thing-to-do and a real sense of community. In 2011, the Village was ranked in the CNN/Money's Top 100 again for economic strength, great job opportunities, top schools and safe streets. Consumer finance website, Wallet Hub, analysed 162 communitites in Illinois. South Elgin ranked 8th among these communities which the site hailed as the "Best Illinois Cities forJobs". In 2016, the same website ranked South Elgin 35th as "Top 100 Best for Families in Illinois".