Homesteaders Find Free Land in Kansas

Susan Lahey explains how fifty families found free land in Kansas, a free building lot to build a home with the promise of living there for a year to help populate the town of Marquette, Kansas.

| January/February 2007


Map showing the location of Marquette, Kansas.


The author shares the story of fifty families who found free land in Kansas from watching a television ad. 

Marquette, Kansas — Tammy Young was watching television at her home near Riverside, California, about an hour east of Los Angeles, when she saw an ad about a town in Kansas that was giving away land. Young, her parents, and her daughters, ages 11 and 13, got in the car and headed for the Smoky Hills of south-central Kansas.

The town is Marquette, a village of brick storefronts and old homes where a big Saturday night event means the stores stay open until 9 p.m. and somebody wins a $100 gift certificate.

Young and her family are among about 50 families that have responded to the offer of free land in Kansas, a free building lot for anyone who would build a home and live in it for at least a year.

The land giveaway, a takeoff of the 1862 Homestead Act that brought about a million settlers to Kansas, has increased Marquette's population from 527 people in 2000 to nearly 700 now. And it has brought a whole lot of attention to the town.

"We've gotten oodles of publicity," says Mayor Steve Piper. "I've done some 20 television interviews and been on national TV six times. For a town this size, that's unheard of."

lynne walker
11/4/2011 1:15:59 PM

I clicked on the link provided in your article, "There's still Free Land Out West". They must have taken the website down because it wasn't there. I was very disappointed because I need a place to go.

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