Birthplace of the American Dream

13 Apr 2015

Free land! That was the simple offer of the 1862 Homestead Act. Any person could pay a small fee to register a claim on 160 acres. If they stayed and made a go of the claim, the land became theirs. In the coming years, more than 1.6 million people made the attempt. The very first of these millions was the aptly named Daniel Freeman, who on January 1, 1863, filed the first land claim under act near Beatrice, Nebraska.

Today, the location of this original claim is a national monument designed to commemorate the Homestead Act. For us in Gage County, the national park is a regional attraction. In addition to a heritage education center, it features a large parkland, including hiking trails through tall-grass prairie restoration areas. Learn more about it here: