The BLM officially recognized a man who claimed an 80-acre plot of land in Alaska as the nation’s last homesteader in 1974, ending the 112-year program. The Homestead Act was, of course, written to quicken western expansion, deeding people small chunks of farmland if they worked the property for five years. But today, homesteading is something else entirely.
Homesteading these days means to stay in a small, simple home on a bit of rural land, basically. Recreating, in a sense, albeit with running water, heating, electricity, and (fingers crossed) WiFi, the isolated experience of 19th-century homesteaders.
Like this cabin in Joshua Tree, California. Built in 1955, it has an aged, weathered, wind-battered outside, with a modern, comfortable interior. It’s on an empty five-acre parcel of land and is a short 12-minutes from downtown Joshua Tree, and just 15 minutes from Joshua Tree National Park, but at night it probably seems closer to the stars of the Milky Way.
It’s smack in the middle of a desert wildlife playground, so there are coyotes, jackrabbits, roadrunners, plenty of lizards, and even tortoises roaming the grounds. Oh, and there’s an outdoor shower. Heaven. It’s a little more than $100 per night to have this little slice of the desert all to yourself. To kick back in the porch hammock, let the hot sun slip behind the hills, and watch a wonderland of stars fill the impossibly dark skies.
Photos: JT Homesteader
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