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Home! Sweet Homestead!

August 10, 2012

By Gypsy McFelter

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City is presenting a special exhibition this summer in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act. Home! Sweet Homestead! is on display in the Flagstaff Gallery through September 3, 2012. One element in this exhibit is a map of the United States where visitors can write their homestead story on a Post-It note and stick it to the wall for others to read.

We’ve taken these stories and created pinpoints on a Google map (above), which has been a great way to visualize the legacy and impact of the 1862 Homestead Act and related legislation. It’s also been a unique opportunity to learn more about where our visitors hail from, and to hear about their connections to different parts of the country.

The points on this map have been multiplying throughout the summer, as more and more visitors share their connections to homesteading with us. One of my favorite stories so far is from the former Governor of Oregon, Barbara Roberts, which she posted in our exhibit on a recent visit to Baker City. See if you can find her pinpoint on the above map!

If you have a family connection to homesteading that you’d like to share with us, please send your story to, and I’ll add a new pinpoint to the map.

Gypsy McFelter is an Exhibits Specialist at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City.

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