Called Minnekahta (warm waters) by the original white settlers in 1879, the town's name was changed to Hot Springs in 1886. Earlier, the Lakota and the Cheyenne Indian tribes fought for control of the natural warm waters. Legends tell of a hostile encounter waged in the hills high above the gurgling springs on a peak called Battle Mountain.
Spurred by a vast range and tall grass, ranchers staked their bankroll on cattle and helped build the town of Hot Springs. Merchants sold their wares, and by 1890 local residents such as businessman Fred Evans and others of entrepreneurial spirit embarked on an ambitious plan to turn the whole town into a health spa. Evans built the Evans Plunge over a group of small springs and one giant thermal spout of warm mineral water.
When the railroad began unloading passengers at the Hot Springs Train Depot in 1891, the town's future was secured. From the mineral water's mist rose elaborate sandstone buildings, and proprietors provided all manner of services and goods.
I,m1n the summer of 2007, the Hot Springs community banded together to protect the city of Hot Springs and area residents in the Alabaugh Canyon Fire. The fire destroyed many homes, four miles south of Hot Springs. The community, along with volunteer and professional firefighters fought off the fire and ensured the longevity of the town for future generations. You can get more information regarding the fire and first-hand accounts of firefighters and survivors at the local Hot Springs Bookstore: Black Hills Books & Treasures.
Surrounded by rugged canyons and pine-covered hills, the town of 3,700 boasts the Mammoth Site, mineral water health spas, Evans Plunge, Wind Cave National Park, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, lake resorts, history museums, the award-winning Southern Hills Golf Course and unique accommodations, shops and restaurants. Hot Springs is home to the VA Black Hills Medical Center and the State Veterans Home. While relying on the tourism industry, the town's beauty also lends itself to a growing artist community.