“Homestead is where the art is.”

February 2, 2010

The history of the Poste Homestead

Filed under: Culture, History, Press — magicgroove @ 12:15 am

The 29 Palms Historical Society has been an important resource and support in the uncovering of the history of the homestead cabins over the last few years.   In this week’s Desert Trail, the Society publishes an informative Soapbox establishing the story of the Poste Homestead off Amboy and Chadwick in Wonder Valley and clearing up some misinformation that’s been going around.  The adobe ruins and grove of athel trees amid the sand dunes help mark a location that’s been active in local history since the late 1800’s, when it was a water stop for mining freighters.  The Poste Homestead predates the Small-Tract movement, and the article takes a look at the meaning of “homestead”:

There is also the question of the meaning of “homestead.” Random House dictionary defines “homestead” as “a dwelling with its land and buildings.” It is our understanding this is the context used when referencing the place as the “Poste Homestead.” The Homestead Act was a special act of Congress (1862) that made public land available to settlers. In the Mojave Desert the original homestead claims were generally 160 acres, but after the Small Tract Act was passed in 1938, one could file on a five-acre parcel. We should also mention that if a person filed on a homestead but did not prove up, there may or may not be any record in the Government Land Entry files. There will definitely not be a record in the online data base; the data base only contains records of people whose homestead was patented. Patented in this context means the individual satisfied all the requirements of the pertinent act and was issued a Patent (deed) to the property by the federal government.

If you haven’t visited the Museum or joined the 29 Palms Historical Society, you should!   They continue to reach out to include the humble history of the Small-Tract homesteads. (Their latest quarterly newsletter [Winter 2009] includes a version of the talk I gave on this topic at the Museum last March!)  These hard-working volunteers and their expert labors continue to contribute in critical ways to our understanding of our communities, our history, our culture, and the land that has shaped us.

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