A flat-topped hill to the southeast was named Box Butte by early cowboys and travellers. This area is part of the Box Butte Tableland, semi-arid short grass country that stretches far to the west.
Box Butte has given its name to the creek that flows near its base, a village, and the county where it is located. It served as a landmark for miners and freighters to the Black Hills during the gold rush of the 1870's. Box Butte City was founded east of here in the mid-1880's. A cluster of sod and frame buildings housed a post office, grocery and drug store, land locator's office, livery barn, hotel, restaurant, two blacksmith shops, and a cream station. A small sod church was built west of the village. The town died when the post office was discontinued in 1910 and only the pioneer graves remain.
Box Butte County was created in 1886 from lands in Dawes County. Heavy advertising campaigns by the railroads spurred its early growth. The Kinkaid Act of 1904 increased the size of homesteads from 160 to 640 acres and aided in the economic recovery of the county following the depression and drought of the 1890's. The landmark remains as a rugged memorial to those hardy pioneers who settled "Box Butte Country."