Surrounded on three sides by railroads, Hermosa was an ideal location for businesses looking for space and shipping convenience in the 1880s. Companies "such as the Expanded Metal Company, the Eclipse Furnace Company, and a warehouse belonging to the Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Company" called the neighborhood home. One other company that started in Hermosa around this time was Schwinn. "By 1905, the company had become one of the leading firms" in the bicycle industry, and it continued manufacturing bikes in the neighborhood until the mid-1980s.

Aside from its industrious history, Hermosa is also known for being the birthplace of Walt Disney. Disney, whose family moved to Chicago when his father came to work as a carpenter at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, was born in 1901. His family moved away in 1906, but Walt made a brief return as a teen to "study art and attend McKinley High School."