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Free land drew millions of settlers to the western frontier. When the Homestead Act of 1862 let settlers claim up to 160 acres, pioneer families, former slaves, and others headed across the country to set down roots. This mass movement changed the country and shaped the nation we became.
At the Homestead National Monument of America located to the southwest of Nebraska City, this legacy is remembered through preserved buildings and the environment. The very grounds were some of the first acres claimed under the Homestead Act. Visit the Homestead Visitor Center along with the Homestead Education Center to view exhibits that explore the impact of the law. Explore the structures to see the era's construction styles and imagine yourself living in the wooden cabins or attending school in the rough building. Follow a cell phone audio tour that guides you around and explains the points of interest. You can also follow a Quilt Discovery Tour to learn more about the homemade works of art sewn by pioneer women as they journeyed into untamed territory.
Head out to explore the prairie on 2 miles of trails. You'll pass through tallgrass prairie and woodlands shaded by bur oak. The monument's 100 acres of prairie have been restored to the landscape experienced by the homesteaders.