Hermosa’s Historical Interest 


Display at Reptile Gardens, Rapid City, of the Hermosa Giant Sea Turtle

Post office

Original Hermosa Post Office Equipment


Original Hermosa Switchboard

Battle Mountain               Geraldine Evans - A Collection of Memorable Stories

battle mt 2                       Jerry-Evans  

Civil War Cannons                         Geraldine Evans Poem

C003               Poem

Museum to get new a foundation         Short Stories

Museum                short story

Hermosa Telephone Company               Tipi Rings

Tele                     tipi0

Fort Buckingham

(1890 - 1892), near Hermosa
A civilian fort located northeast of town near Rocky Knob. It was built during the Ghost Dance uprisings. Nearby was the Army's Camp Stanton, built during the same time period. Both sites still remain.


The Borglum Ranch



The Titan Missile Base

Hermosa Titan Base43-46-38 103-08-47
21 miles SSE Rapid City South Dakota
(5 miles SE Hermosa South Dakota)


Ellsworth AFB (see also http://www.strategic-air-command.com/bases/Ellsworth_AFB.htm) near Rapid City South Dakota had 9 Titan I missiles (3 sites). Training began in 1960; the first missile was received Jun 22 1962; the last was removed in February 1965. I found these sites courtesy of Scott D. Murdock's trip log Rapid City Maneuvers.

(Patch images courtesy of strategic-air-command.com, USAFPatches.com, and Ellsworth's web site, respectively) I believe the middle patch is appropriate for the Titan I era, and just for comparison the third patch is for Minuteman.

The people: Sites were manned by the 850th SMS which was activated December 1 1960, became operationally ready September 26 1962, and was inactivated March 25 1965. The 850th SMS was initially under the 28th Bomb Wing (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0028bw.htm) but was reassigned to the 44th SMW on January 1 1962 (see http://www.strategic-air-command.com/wings/0044bw.htm).

An Ellsworth site (which one?) had an accident in June of 1962, where the interstage separation rockets fired when a cable was inadvertently removed. The second stage lifted off the first stage and caused major damage to the silo and missile (which was not fitted with a warhead at the time). I assume the silo lid was closed at the time. (This per Mike Morgan per Chuck Hansen's CD-ROM book The Swords of Armageddon). Nobody was injured!



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. A battle between the Sioux and the Crow was fought in one of these valleys in the 1700s, and the creek and valley were given the name Battle. A large oak tree along the creek was chosen to hold a council between the groups, and the tree became known as the Council Oak.

In 1886, workers of the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad created a new town in the Battle Creek valley about three miles east of the Council Oak. 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. During its first year of existence, Hermosa boasted a population of over 1,000 residents. 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.