Around the time of 1836, when the first European settlers came to the area, which today is Elmhurst, much of the land was covered by thick prairie. Land along Salt Creek or wooded tracts of land attracted many of these early settlers. Hill Cottage Tavern opened in 1843 at the present intersection of St. Charles Rd. and Cottage Hill Ave. and soon became a stop on the stagecoach line between Chicago and the Fox River Valley. The small community of residents in the area continued to grow, and it was officially named Cottage Hill in 1845 upon the establishment of a post office. Just four years later the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was granted a right-of-way through the young town, providing convenient rail access to and from Chicago for farmers, their produce, and residents. The community changed its name to Elmhurst in 1869.