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The Homestead Act
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Shaping America's History

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 homesteaders’ stories and the BLM’s role in preserving  them will be at the forefront of our Commemoration of the Homestead Act. 

Kemp Homestead 1910, Catron County, New Mexico

Explore the Homesteading Timeline

Click Here to View the Interactive Homesteading Timeline

Discover Homesteading Videos

Click Here to View Homesteading Videos



 The Homestead Act: 
Its Origins and Place in American History



The Homestead Act: 
the Opportunities it Gave Americans & People Wanting to Become Americans



Legacy of the Homestead Act and Homesteading

Commemorative Events

Home Sweet Homestead! 

National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

A Special Exhibit Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act
National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
Baker City, Oregon
June 7th - September 3rd*

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 US 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. 

Commemorating 200 Years of the General Land Office

Two hundred years ago this April, the General Land Office (GLO) opened its doors for business. Today that “land office business” continues at the Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States office, which will commemorate the occasion with events scheduled throughout the year.  Learn More >>

39th Annual Montana History Conference

Opportunity for All?  
Homesteading Next Year Country

September 20-22, 2012
Helena, Montana

Teaching With Documents:
The Homestead Act of 1862

The National Archives of the United States contains reproducible copies of primary documents and teaching activities correlated to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government.

Teaching with primary documents encourages a varied learning environment for teachers and students alike. Lectures, demonstrations, analysis of documents, independent research, and group work become a gateway for research with historical records in ways that sharpen students' skills and enthusiasm for history, social studies, and the humanities.

For teaching activities and documents associated with The Homestead Act of 1862, Click Here.

Homesteading Family with Horses and Wagon