Before the Euro-American settlement of the Black Hills, the valleys of the eastern Black Hills provided shelter and game for the Native American tribes of the region.
In 1886, workers of the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad created a new town in this area. With the scenic view of the valley to the east and the Black Hills to the west, the crew chose the Spanish word for beautiful for the new town’s name – Hermosa. The economy of the area was dependent on agriculture, livestock production, mining, and logging. Hermosa gained international exposure during the Summer of 1927 with the visit of President Calvin Coolidge to the Black Hills. Coolidge resided at the State Game Lodge in nearby Custer State Park during his three-month vacation, as well as attending the Hermosa Congregational Church every Sunday during his Black Hills stay. Today, Hermosa’s population is only about 300, but still retains a friendly community attitude. Some residents are still involved in agriculture, but many work in nearby Rapid City, or in the Black Hills tourism industry. Centrally located at the intersections of State Highways 79, 40, and 36, Hermosa is conveniently located near Rapid City, Custer State Park, the southern Hills, the central Black Hills, the Badlands, and the Pine Ridge Reservation. And yes, the Council Oak still stands along Battle Creek to this day.