The new Heritage Center was dedicated May 20, 2007 with a ceremony thanking everyone and welcoming the public to the new building. It was followed by a park celebration to commemorate the opening on the anniversary of the signing of the Homestead Act by President Abraham Lincoln. Below are some of the highlights of the day.
New Homestead Heritage Center Opens
Presidents: Homesteading was influenced by presidents. Thomas Jefferson stated our democracy would be strong built on the backbone of citizens owning their own farms. Abraham Lincoln signed the legislation creating the Homestead Act of 1862 which set in motion the building of the West. Historic portrayals of these presidents were presented by actors sponsored by the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies of Grand Valley State University, Michigan during the celebration following the dedication ceremony of the Heritage Center.
Living Homesteaders: The last of the 2 million people who filed homestead claims were invited to come and share their stories. Several of the living Homesteaders participated in the celebration event following the dedication ceremony opening the new Heritage Center.
Musician Atz Kilcher brought the story of his family's homestead to life through song during the celebration following the dedication and opening of the Homestead Heritage Center. He is a professional singer, musician and entertainer. The Kilcher family documented their story in color film. Atz Kilcher brought this story to life with music and beautiful footage of their Alaska homestead. Atz is the father of pop star Jewel who he raised on the Alaska Homestead.
Other Areas of the Park
The Freeman School was opened for visitors to experience a pioneer school day and meet the “school marm”.
Last updated: April 10, 2015