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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

Oregon / Washington

Homestead Act 150 Year Anniversary

Inside Passage Articles
Homestead Act 150 Year Anniversary

The Homestead Act of 1862 brought about significant and lasting changes to the United States. Giving individuals from the United States and around the world the opportunity to claim free government land allowed nearly any man or woman a chance to live the American Dream. During the homesteading era over 1.6 million people stepped-up to the challenge to claim and settle more than 270 million acres of public land.

This May, the Homestead Act will celebrate its 150th birthday. The BLM Oregon/Washington invites you to learn more about our historic lands and the BLM's role in preserving them will be at the forefront of our Commemoration of the Homestead Act.

Homesteading Day in Oregon!

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber proclaimed June 7, 2012, as Homesteading Day in Oregon! This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act. The Homestead Act of 1862 brought about significant and lasting changes to the United States. Giving individuals from the United States and around the world the opportunity to claim free government land allowed nearly any man or woman a chance to live the American Dream. During the homesteading era over 1.6 million people stepped-up to the challenge to claim and settle more than 270 million acres of public land.

Commemorating 150 Years of The Homestead Act

The Homestead Act of 1862 gave individuals from the United States and around the world the opportunity to claim free government land. During the homesteading era tens-of-thousands of people claimed and settled more than 270 million acres.

The Gerber Family Legacy on Public Lands

The Gerber Block is located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in southern Oregon, and managed by the Klamath Falls Resource Area out of the Lakeview District. The 'Gerber Block' encompasses 8 different legal descriptions comprised of townships and ranges. read more >>

Homesteading in Oregon - Fast Facts

  • Total: 62,926 homesteads
  • Total acres in State: 61,441,280
  • Total acres homesteaded in State: 10,513,945
  • Total percentage of Oregon homesteaded: 17%

View the Homestead Act Fact Sheet.

Homesteading Resources

A listing of BLM homesteading resources in Oregon - books, articles, and web related.

National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Home Sweet Homestead

Baker City, Oregon
June 7 - September 3*

Discover the rich homesteading history of the West, and explore the many ways that we create and protect the places that we call home. The Homestead Act gave U.S. citizens the opportunity to lay claim to 160 acres of land and provided the infrastructure for people to establish agricultural communities throughout the American West, offering new freedoms for those willing to work hard.

*A special traveling exhibit from the Homestead National Monument in Nebraska will be on display for three weeks, June 17th - July 7th.

Homesteading in Eastern Oregon

In Oregon they had a precursor to the Homestead Act called the Donation Land Act and it was one of the primary reasons why people came west. Over 300,00 people came westward on trails and about 50,000 of those people settled in Oregon. They started the state of Oregon and settlement in Oregon, and it's had a lasting impact both on the organization of the state and on the culture of the Pacific Northwest.

The video looks at homesteading through the eyes of homesteading descendents in Eastern Oregon and the staff of the BLM's National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker, Oregon.