Recognizing History through Cultural Interpretation
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Homesteading was how westward expansion began in the United States in 1862. The Homestead Act gave an applicant one hundred sixty acres or one quarter section of undeveloped land outside the original thirteen colonies. The only stipulations were that after an application was filed the applicant would have to live on the land for five years and improve it, then file a deed of title for the land. Landscape architecture can be used to preserve these homesteads throughout western North Dakota. New preservation ideas and techniques, such as stabilization using materials already on the site, retention of the form already consistent on the site, and restoration of site phenomenology, can be used in landscape architecture designs to help preserve the homesteads. Though saving an old building from being demolished may not intrigue some, this thesis aims to investigate and show why it is culturally important to save these types of buildings as well as what we can learn from this type of preservation. The elements of these homesteads including the buildings and farm equipment will be preserved to keep the integrity of the site. A new cultural interpretation will be created to celebrate the cultural history of the site. This thesis will also show why keeping homesteads around is important to remembering the history of the United States and how compromises can allow groups and people to work together to achieve their goals.