Claiming the Desert
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
N 43° 21.352 W 121° 03.485
10T E 657367 N 4802165
Historical marker located outside the Fort Rock Village Historical Homestead Museum.
Waymark Code: WM1H21
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 05/08/2007
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 42

The Homestead Act of 1862 inspired thousands to seek land in the West. The law allowed heads of households, widows, and all single people over 21 years old to purchase 160 acres at $1.25 per acre, or by paying a $15 filing fee after 5 years of residence and cultivation.

The Homestead Law was seen as a great democratic measure by its supporters. Reform minded easterners saw it as a way workers could escape low wages and deplorable working conditions. The law, however, was only a promise. The land was free, but traveling to the land, building a home, and breaking the soil required capital. The environment also worked to defeat the dreams of many – especially in regions like this. More than 1.3 million claims were filed in the United States before 1900, but less than half proved successful.

By the turn of the century, lands previously valued for only grazing became valuable for agriculture as farmers adopted new techniques such as deep plowing and sowing drought-resistant crops. Because dryland farming required greater investment and more land, Congress passed the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909. This law, which allowed homesteaders to claim 320 acres, fueled a landrush already underway. Millions of acres fell under the plow and new communities sprang up across the west. Many of the first homesteaders in this region arrived after 1909.

Picture 1: A sound wagon pulled by strong horses, such as the rig pictured above owned by the Beeler family in 1916, were essential to a homesteader’s success.

Picture 2: Backbreaking labor and almost total isolation was the common lot of this region’s early settlers, and C. P. Hallse’s homestead pictured above in 1916 proved no exception.
Historic Topic: Pioneer

Group Responsible for placement: BLM

Marker Type: Roadside

Region: Central Oregon

County: Lake

Web link to additional information: [Web Link]

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

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Volcanoguy visited Claiming the Desert 06/06/2007 Volcanoguy visited it

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