Take a Trip to: Homestead National Park!

“Take a Trip!” Mid-West Region

Historical Parks!

Homestead National Park!


We are beginning our tour of the National Parks this summer and we are going to begin in the Mid-West Region! This will follow our “Take a Trip” WinterPromise trip! Use this as an opportunity to learn about different parks you may want to visit with your family someday! Enjoy!

Homestead National Monument

This monument was built to honor the Homestead Act of 1862. The Homestead Act of 1862 played a huge role in the expansion of the west. With this act the United States enabled anyone to claim land and build a “homestead” for their family. 272 million acres were made available! That is 10% of the United States! This encouraged and allowed pioneers to travel large distances to start a new life. This park is a celebration of American freedom and the rights of every single person to live and provide for themselves and their families.

History of the Park


After enacting the Homestead Act in 1862, in 1909 there was a desire in the residence of Nebraska to build a monument on the property where it is today. This property was the first property claimed under the Homestead Act, it is known as the Freeman property.

It took 30 years of behind the scenes work before anything was accomplished. In 1925, a powerful congressional leader named George W. Norris also began to push for the National Monument to be built on the Freeman property. Only after the Congressman began fighting for the cause did any real change begin to happen. In 1935 a proposal was made by  Senator Norris to the United State House of Representatives for the creation of the National Monument. It was passed on March 16th, 1936.

Homestead National Park is managed by the National Parks service and has been since it’s creation. In 1971 the construction of a single-building prairie school house added another dimension to the experience for visitors. This would give visitors an idea of what life was like for a Nebraska schoolboy.

Learn More Here: http://www.nps.gov/home/learn/historyculture/creationhomesteadmonument.htm

Major Attractions

Homestead Heritage Center – Learn about the history and scope of the Homestead Act in this amazing museum and information center. You can also view the film: “Land of Dreams: Homesteading American.” You can learn so much here, even the parking lot has an education twist. It is one acre in size!

Freeman School – Want to see an old fashioned school district? This one-building school was known officially as District 21. The schoolhouse played a huge role in the culture and development of the prairie west. The park has restored the building to make it look much like it did in 1871.

Palmer-Epard Cabin – This cabin is 14 miles away from Homestead National Monument. It was moved to the monument in 1950 so that visitors could appreciate and see what a “luxurious” cabin was like for families on the prairies in the late 1800’s. It is 10ft x 12ft, and would house families of up to 10 kids! Between this and the school your children will be thankful for what they have!

You can learn more about the cabin here: http://www.nps.gov/home/planyourvisit/p-ecabin.htm


WinterPromise is stopping here and will have pictures up of what we experience! This would be a great place to visit on a trip out west. If you are planning to do American Story 2 or American Culture sometime this trip would be a great way to bring history to life for your children!

Go to this link to see what an itinerary would look like: http://www.nps.gov/home/planyourvisit/itineraries.htm

Sweeping Into the West (https://winterpromise.com/product/sweeping-west-ebook/) – 106 Pages

This WinterPromise exclusive is included in our American Culture program. This resource written by Kaeryn Brooks takes your students on a journey from the wake of the Civil War, to heading out west, to seeing the plight of the Native American tribes and much more! It would be a great resource to bring along with you as you visit, or if you can’t take a trip like this it would still be a great way to bring the history of the west to life for your kids. Available in Ebook and Print!