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Before the Manhattan Project and previous to the Ranch School, there were homesteaders.
In 1862, the U.S. Congress passed the Homesteaders Act, Los Alamos author Dorothy Hoard said. Under this act, people applied for entry to live on a piece of land.
If accepted, the homesteaders lived on the land for five years, farmed it, improved it and after the five-year period, they applied for a title. If they received the title, the homesteaders owned the land. All the private land in Los Alamos, before the Manhattan Project in 1943, Hoard said, was settled under the Homestead Act. The first homesteaders were in 1887 and there ended up being 35 patented homesteads.
As a result, the homesteaders played an important role in Los Alamos’ history, she said.
It seems fitting then with celebrations of the county’s 60th anniversary underway, to recognize some of the area’s early inhabitants who helped usher Los Alamos into the present day. Hoard will discuss the homesteaders during the Los Alamos Historical Society’s lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Fuller Lodge.
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