Land run (sometimes "land rush") usually refers to a historical event in which previously restricted land of the United States was opened to homestead on a first arrival basis. Lands were opened and sold first-come or by bid, or won by lottery, or by means other than a run. The settlers, no matter how they acquired occupancy, purchased the land from the United States Land Office. For former Indian lands, the Land Office distributed the sales funds to the various tribal entities, according to previously negotiated terms. The Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 was the most prominent of the land runs while the Land Run of 1893 was the largest.
Seven land runs took place in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, beginning with the Land Run of April 22, 1889, which opened the Unassigned Lands and led to today's Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne counties of Oklahoma.
The Land Run of September 22, 1891, opened the Iowa, Sac and Fox, Potawatomi, and Shawnee lands to settlement. The land run opened 6,097 plots of 160 acres (0.65 km2) each of former reservation land. On the following day, a land run was held to settle Tecumseh, the pre-designated location of the county seat of County B, later renamed as Pottawatomie County. On September 28, 1891, another land run was held to settle Chandler, the pre-designated location of the county seat of County A, later renamed as Lincoln County.
The Land Run of September 16, 1893 was known as the Cherokee Strip Land Run. It opened 8,144,682.91 acres (12,726 square miles or about 3.3 million hectares) to settlement. The land was purchased from the Cherokees. It was the largest land run in U.S. history, four times larger than the Land Run of 1889. The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center museum at the eastern edge of Enid, Oklahoma commemorates this event.
In honor of Oklahoma's Centennial of statehood, sculptor Paul Moore won the commission for the Oklahoma Centennial Land Run Monument. As Moore completed elements of the 47-piece monument, such as horses and riders, wagons and horse teams, dogs, and others, they were installed in lower Bricktown, Oklahoma City. When completed in 2015, the monument will cover approximately 365 feet (111 m), making it overall one of the largest bronze sculptures in the world.
In popular culture
- The 1889 and 1893 Oklahoma Land Runs were portrayed in Edna Ferber's 1929 novel, Cimarron, as well as films based on the novel.
- The Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893 was portrayed in the movie Far and Away (1992), directed by Ron Howard.
- The Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893 was also depicted in 1969 novel by M. A. Hancock 'The Thundering Prairie'.
- Bradford, Susan (2007-02-10). "Oklahoma Land Openings 1889-1907". Retrieved October 6, 2013.
- Oklahoma Land Run Openings 1889-1907 (accessed October 6, 2013).
- Green, Donald E., "Settlement Patterns," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. (accessed October 6, 2013)
- The Oklahoma Land Run Monument, Paul Moore Website. (accessed October 6, 2013)
- Centennial Land Run Monument, City of Oklahoma City. (accessed October 6, 2013)
- Stan Hoig. The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 (1989)