Pioneer Family

A Tribute to Courage and Tenacity

Daniel Freeman family photo The Homestead National Monument of America was set aside in 1936 to commemorate one of the first documented Nebraska homesteads. It also stands as a tribute to the courage and tenacity of the waves of American landseekers and European immigrants who ventured west in the late 19th century to take up the demanding life of the prairie farmer. The National Monument includes the original Homestead Act land claim of Daniel and Agnes Freeman. In addition to the Park's visitor center, you'll find a historic log cabin typical of those in eastern Nebraska, the original Freeman school and trails that wind through the restored tallgrass prairie.

This is the "unofficial" web site of the Homestead National Monument. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance and encouragement of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, from whom we have extracted the text and many of the images of this site. We invite you, now to take a short tour of the site.

Tour the Park

Begin at the visitor center. Park rangers provide information and assistance. Special films, talks and guided walks are scheduled in summer. Contact the staff in advance to arrange group tours.

A brief slide program introduces the park. Museum exhibits and a farm implement display document pioneer life in the homestead era.

Self-guiding trails begin across the Cub Creek footbridge and loop 2 1/2 miles through the Freeman homestead. Guidebooks are available at the trailhead and in the visitor center.

Palmer-Epard Cabin Just behind the visitor center is the Palmer-Epard Cabin built in 1867 on a nearby homestead. The dwelling was constructed of mixed hardwoods (oak, hackberry, ash, locust, walnut and elm) and homemade bricks set in lime mortar. It was occupied consecutively by the Palmer and the Epard families, then moved to this site for exhibit purposes in 1950. Today the cabin is furnished to depict life in the 1880s.

The National Park Service has restored more than 100 acres of the Freeman homestead to tallgrass prairie. Prairie restoration began in 1939 and restorers took on the challenge of recreating wilderness. To prevent erosion of cleared land, sod strips from nearby prairies were laid across gullies. Native grass and flower seeds were also planted. To maintain this ecosystem, managers use a variety of techniques, including controlled fires.

The Freeman School is located 1/4 mile west of the visitor center. Some of the Freeman children were taught here. Before it closed in 1967, it was the oldest operating one-room schoolhouse in Nebraska. It is restored to its appearance in the 1890s.

Map of US in 1862

Location:

Homestead National Monument is located in southeastern Nebraska, about 40 miles south of Lincoln. Follow signs from I-80 at Lincoln. At Beatrice, turn west and follow Neb. Rte. 4 for 4 1/2 miles to the park entrance.

Hours:

The park is open daily from 8:30 AM to 5 PM; summer hours are 8 AM to 6 PM. The park is closed on December 25.

Facilities:

There is a small picnic area near the visitor center. Food and lodging are not available at the monument. Campgrounds, restaurants and overnight accommodations are available in Beatrice.

Disabled Access:

The visitor center an its facilities are accessible to the mobility impaired. Some trails are hard-surfaced and mostly level.

For Your Safety

For your safety and the park's protection: Be watchful for poison ivy along the trails. Check clothing and hair for ticks. * Stay on marked trails. There are steep drop offs near Cub Creek. * Grasslands are fragile: do not disturb plants in any way; smoking is not permitted. * Pets must be restrained and are not allowed in buildings or on trails. * Bicycles and vehicles are not allowed on trails.

Administration:

Homestead National Monument is administered by the National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. Contact: Superintendent, RFD 3, Box 47, Beatrice, NE 68310.

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Copyright 1995, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior. All rights reserved. This site designed and developed by Digital Revolution with the assistance of Beth Lohse, Beatrice, Nebraska who entered the text from a Park Service brochure.