The Homestead Act of 1862 brought about significant and enduring changes to the United States. And nobody knows those changes better than Dean Thornburg.
Dean Thornburg is very proud to say that the land in Gage County that his great grand-dad acquired through the Homestead Act way back in 1867 is still in the family.
And it's only right that Dean lives in northeast Beatrice... Right down the road from the Homestead National Monument of America.
Over the past 4 decades, Dean created some mobile monuments to honor the homesteaders, "I admired the people, our forefathers and the history. The people that migrated west in the Conestoga's and just took very few belongings and went out not knowing what they would encounter."
In 1972 Dean decided to take a trip back in time. He got some blueprints and built a Conestoga wagon from scratch. Dean says, "They had a lot of grit and life was cheap. Many times they lost family. Because I admire these people, I built the Conestoga."
Dean also restored 10 more horse drawn vehicles.