BEATRICE – The Homestead National Monument of America set a new attendance record, in 2017.
The National Park Service attraction that commemorates the Homestead Act of 1862, had 123,399 visitors.
Superintendent Mark Engler says that’s the best year in the history of the park, eclipsing…literally…the 2012 attendance when more than 103,000 people visited during the 150th anniversary of the federal act.
The full solar eclipse in August, when the Homestead was an official NASA viewing site, was a major factor in setting the new record.
:21 “quite some time”
The increased attendance, Engler says, carries with it a solid economic impact for the region, with increased spending associated with the higher visitation.
:15 “comes with that”
Engler says the continued growth in attendance is beneficial for the entire region. The Homestead National Monument four miles west of Beatrice is open every day, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
This year, Engler says the monument will host a major event that celebrates the days of the one-room school house, during June. The park will co-host a National Country School Association national conference.
:24 “back home”
Engler says the one-room country school house impacted many lives and holds personal connections for many people. The Homestead features the Freeman School, a one-room school house just west of the Education Center.
The monument will also have a full schedule of other activities throughout 2018, including Homestead Days events.