Homestead National Monument of America has a new name.
Legislation renaming the National Park Service site west of Beatrice as Homestead National Historical Park was signed into law this week.
Homestead Park Superintendent Mark Engler said the change was effective as soon as the bill was signed, and plans are in progress to install new signs at the National Park Service site.
“Homestead is a dynamic place with an epic story and I think the new name, Homestead National Historical Park, better represents the many cultural, natural and recreational features visitors will find here,” Engler said. “We look forward to sharing this significant American story to new and returning park visitors.”
The bill was introduced by Congressman Adrian Smith and was signed into law by President Trump on Wednesday.
“Places like the Homestead National Historical Park bring American history alive and allow us a look into our past,” Smith said in a press release. “Renaming this facility to more accurately reflect this location gives a clearer picture of the opportunities and hands-on learning experience available. Our state has a rich history and learning about it has never been easier thanks to innovative projects such as this one.”
Smith, who introduced the bill in February, told the representatives that the word “monument” evokes images of a single statue, or natural feature, which does not fit the description of Homestead.
The National Park Service site features a heritage museum, education center, hiking trails and 100 acres of restored tallgrass prairie.
Rich Hovendick, Vice President of the Friends of Homestead, previously said the bill was first introduced around 2009, but did not get out of committee.
“We have worked for years to get this accomplished and now can say we have accomplished the name change that will correctly identify what our national park entails here in Southeast Nebraska,” he said in a press release.
The Homestead Act of 1862, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, allowed American citizens to earn ownership of a portion of the vast public lands in the western United States that was owned by the federal government. Ultimately the federal government granted titles to 10 percent of the land in the United States through this program.
Homestead National Historical Park was established to commemorate the first claim under the Homestead Act.