Events in 2021 (scroll down to read more about each event)
Events and Programs April 20, 2021 -- Two HAHA members honored as Hermosa Volunteers of the Year for 2019 and 2020. June 19, 2021 -- New HAHA sign installed on the Museum front porch. July 20, 2021 -- Hermosa summer school classes visited the HAHA museum for a history program. August 12-15, 2021 -- Custer County Fair HAHA display booth, Museum open house, and book signing by HAHA volunteer and historian Lilah Pengra of her book about the now abandoned Battle River Cemetery and the story of Horse Thieves at Battle River, July 1882. Special sale price on the books! August 21, 2021 -- Memorial for HAHA member Jerry Ellerman was held at the Hermosa Cemetery, with a reception afterwards at the HAHA Museum. Open to the public for those who knew Jerry. September 18, 2021 -- Live Music in the HAHA Museum parking lot. Free with popcorn fundraiser. October 31, 2021 -- Trick-or-Treat and Jack-o-Lantern Invitational at the HAHA Museum front porch. December, 2021 -- Christmas gift bags from HAHA, with toys, candy and Christmas riddles, were distributed to students at the Hermosa School just before the holiday break. The HAHA Annual Christmas Carnival -- our gift to the community in past years-- will again be cancelled this year due to public health concerns. We regret having to make this decision, but feel it is best for our community's children, parents, and the HAHA volunteers.
Monthly Member Meetings HAHA members met by computer, using Zoom, during the pandemic. Now that members are vaccinated we have begun meeting in person at the Hermosa Library lower-level meeting room or elsewhere.
We meet the second Monday of the month at 6:30, but sometimes change the meeting time and/or place to accommodate members' schedules. Check the schedule below, or our Facebook page, for monthly member meeting announcements.
New members are welcome! If you're interested in joining us, please send us your email address and ask to be included in the meeting invitations that are sent by email.
January 25, 2021 -- Member meeting and Annual Board Election was held via Zoom. February 8, 2021 -- Member meeting held via Zoom. March 15, 2021 -- Member meeting held via Zoom. April 19, 2021 -- Member meeting held via Zoom. May 10, 2021 -- Member meeting held in person in the Lower Level meeting room of the Library. June 14, 2021 -- Member meeting held in the Hermosa Library. July 19, 2021 -- Member meeting held in the Lower Level meeting room of the Hermosa Library. (The July meeting was rescheduled a week later than usual to accommodate member travel schedules.) August 9, 2021 -- Member meeting held in the Lower Level meeting room of the Hermosa Library. September 13, 2021 -- Member meeting held in the Lower Level meeting room of the Hermosa Library. October 11, 2021 -- Member meeting scheduled. November 8, 2021 -- Member meeting scheduled. December 13, 2021 -- Member meeting scheduled.
HAHA Volunteers Honored April 20, 2021 Hermosa Town Office at 6 pm Every year the Town of Hermosa accepts nominations of citizens who have performed work or activities that are related to the Town of Hermosa or its citizens during the calendar year. (The person being nominated does not need to live within the town limits.)
Hermosa Volunteers of the Year are chosen based on the civic, volunteer, professional activities and accomplishments of the nominee, that show how this person has made a difference in the community.
HAHA is pleased and proud that two of our member volunteers have been chosen for this honor, two years in a row. Because of the pandemic, the Award was not formally presented to Candice in 2020, so both the 2019 and the 2020 Awards will be presented on Tuesday, April 20th at 6 pm at the Hermosa Town Office.
Candice Leigh, Volunteer of the Year for 2019
The grant-writing and administration that Candice does behind the scenes is critical to many of HAHA's accomplishments over the years, keeping the HAHA Museum a living part of the Town of Hermosa. Candice not only finds and secures funding for our building restoration and collections preservation, but she oversees the grants to be sure we follow the rules in spending the money correctly.
A retired teacher, Candice is the driving force behind setting up the Hermosa 3rd Grade class programs about Laura Ingalls Wilder (presented by Linda Starbuck); the Hermosa 4th Grade owl pellet dissection (taught by Julie Brazell, owl pellets donated by Linda Hasselstrom); the Hermosa 8th Grade graduation class photos taken at the Museum porch each year; and the Rapid City Christian High School classes that have visited the HAHA Museum to learn about the Civil War (taught by Don Balyeat).
Candice also helps put together many of the displays of photos, text, and memorabilia that you see at our events-- with help from other HAHA volunteers, of course.
This photo of Candice (above) was taken at a talk she (and Linda Hasselstrom and Rick Mills) gave at the Custer County Historical Society's monthly program in 2019, where the three HAHA members told about the past, present and future of HAHA, spreading the word about our community.
Lilah Pengra, Volunteer of the Year for 2020
Lilah is a member of the HAHA Publications Committee and Custer County Fair Committee, and contributes to a variety of activities conducted by both committees. In addition, she helped revise our Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, drawing on years of experience with other non-profit organizations. Lilah writes monthly articles on Hermosa history for the Hermosa Newsletter, averaging ten to twelve per year. Each article is meticulously researched and usually includes quotes from newspapers of the day. Lilah also created a consistent set of record-keeping forms for HAHA use, and as part of her work for the Publication Committee, she creates and compiles a booklet of history and humor, distributed free to the community, which she named the HOOT “Hermosa Oddities and Old-Timers.” Despite her extensive research of the Civil War veterans who lived in eastern Custer County, Lilah also managed to complete a three-year research project into the origins and extent of the Battle River Cemetery at Hermosa. The book, titled A Hermosa Mystery: Battle River Cemetery 1880 – 1895, will be offered for sale through HAHA in the spring of 2021. Other recent projects include writing a history of the Masonic Lodge in Hermosa as a contribution to the statewide Masonic Lodges of South Dakota book being assembled and compiling a short history of the 1890 volunteer militia raised from residents along Spring, Battle, Dry and Beaver creeks in Custer County just before the massacre at Wounded Knee. Lilah is just beginning work on a history of the vanished town of Phinney and the old settlement of Lame Johnny, and expects that her research on these places may well take three years. Congratulations to you both!
New HAHA Sign Installed June 19, 2021
HAHA volunteer Leta Campbell had a new sign made for HAHA, replacing the vinyl banner that had been in front of the museum for years and was becoming tattered from wind and weather.
"What Is History?" Program for Hermosa Summer School Classes July 20, 2021
Hermosa summer school classes visited the HAHA museum for a history program presented by HAHA volunteers Candice Leigh and Linda M. Hasselstrom.
HAHA Booth at the Custer County Fair August 12-15, 2021 during Fair hours
Museum Open House August 12-14, 2021 from 10 am to 2 pm
HAHA Book signing at the Fair Friday, August 14, 2021 from noon to 2 pm
Custer County Fair HAHA display booth, Museum open house, and book signing by HAHA volunteer and historian Lilah Pengra of her book about the now abandoned Battle River Cemetery and the story of Horse Thieves at Battle River, July 1882.
Memorial for Jerry Ellerman (1952 - 2020) August 21, 2021
Memorial for HAHA member Jerry Ellerman, who died September 18, 2020, as a result of injuries from a car accident, was held at the Hermosa Cemetery, with a reception afterwards at the HAHA Museum. The memorial was open to the public for those who knew Jerry. *~*~*~* Jerry Lee Ellerman was born on December 27, 1952 at Emanuel Hospital in Portland Oregon to Mary Belle Rittberger Ellerman and Roy LeVere Ellerman. He grew up in Portland, Oregon and Edmonds, Washington. In 1972, he moved to the family farm outside of Spearfish, SD, to work with his grandfather Rudolph Ritttberger; he attended Black Hills State College, where he met Linda M. Hasselstrom. He graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology as a Civil Engineer, and started work with the Wyoming Highway Department in Cheyenne, WY, in 1978. He retired there after thirty years working in various capacities including Bridge Design Team Leader and Bridge Operations Engineer.
Upon retirement in 2008, Jerry moved --or as he put it on his Facebook page-- “accepted new employment,” with Linda M. Hasselstrom to her family ranch near Hermosa. He built a woodworking shop with an attached garage for his vehicles, including his beloved 1947 Diamond T milk truck. He also adapted an already-existing building as a blacksmith shop and did considerable woodworking and blacksmithing for his family and friends with only the occasional loss of part of a finger. As a consultant to Michael Baker International, Jerry kept his acquired engineering knowledge current. He also headed the Building Committee for the Hermosa Arts and History Association, helping the organization advance rapidly with refurbishing the exterior of the building with new soffits and repaired stucco, and finalizing plans for the interior layout so that the building --constructed in 1889 as the Hermosa school-- can be used for museum displays, meetings, research and archival storage.
Contributions in his honor may be made to Hermosa Arts and History Association, PO Box 175, Hermosa, S.D. 57744.
Old Time Music Fun Saturday, September 18, 2021 2 to 4 pm in the HAHA Parking Lot
A good crowd braved the hot, sunny weather and joined us for some live music, popcorn, and community connection in the parking lot in front of the HAHA Museum.
This event was dedicated to HAHA volunteer Jerry Ellerman who had been in charge of the Building Committee that was renovating the HAHA Museum. Jerry died in an automobile accident one year ago. Because of his well-organized notes and carefully-drawn plans, HAHA was able to move ahead on repairs through the last year. But Jerry is sorely missed for his good humor, willingness to help, and his construction know-how.
Music was provided by Lessons Learned and the Hermosa Hillbillies.
LESSONS LEARNED Floyd Gorsuch and his wife Connie play Americana music – Bob Wills, Emmy Lou Harris, John Denver, Susie Bogas and many other well-known artists. Floyd on acoustic guitar and vocalist Connie on keyboard have been performing all over the Hills area for several years. Walt Cobb dropped by and showed off his expertise on the guitar, playing a fast-moving duet with Floyd.
HERMOSA HILLBILLIES Vocalist Gary Jurrens and his wife Marge, vocalist and base player, joined Hermosa Hillbillies back in the 1990s. At that time, there had been 15 participants since the beginning of the group in 1960. On September 18, the current band, which included a number of family members, entertained us with some good old country music.
Folks brought their own chairs and enjoyed some fresh popcorn and ice water in the shade of a large canopy, while the music played.
HAHA FUNDRAISER Freshly-popped bags of popcorn and ice-cold bottles of water were available for purchase as a fundraiser to benefit the HAHA Museum. Many thanks to HAHA volunteers Don and Maureen for the popcorn!
THREE LOCAL HISTORY BOOKS ON SALE Lilah Pengra has written three meticulously researched books about local history.