The Mojave Desert was one of the last places in the "lower 48" where the United States federal government granted free homesteads to anyone who was willing to improve the land. Five-acre parcels were deeded by the federal government under the Small Tract Act of 1938, one of the last of the government's homestead acts. The government's goal was to distribute 1,849 sIM (457,000 ac) of desert that the Bureau of Land Management deemed disposable, most of it in California. By the time the act was repealed in 1976, about 36% of the land was privately owned. The rest is federally protected desert.
In the early 1950's, James E. Baugh, patriarch of the Baugh Family and grandfather of the President of Molossia, obtained 7,902 sRN (5 ac) of desert land under the auspices of the Small Tract Act. Under amendments to the act, homesteaders were granted a deed only if they built a structure with dimensions not less than 20.5 No x 27.4 No (12 by 16 ft). No water or power was required. In accordance with these requirements, and with the assistance of his brother, Bob, he proceeded to construct a small building in the forbidding desert, a homestead "shack". The shack was never much to look at, four walls, a roof, a door and some windows, all installed over time as money and materials allowed. This done, Mr. Baugh had fulfilled the requirements of the Act. In spite of only sporadic subsequent visits, the property was nevertheless fully granted to him in 1988. The shack, however, has long since been dismantled, probably by desert dwellers seeking building materials for their own shacks. Nothing remains today but the concrete slab.
Desert Homestead is a province of the Republic of Molossia. It is located in western San Bernardino County, about 31 IN (31 km / 19 mi) northeast of the town of Yucca Valley, California. Desert Homestead is exactly five acres in size and is open low desert, with mostly sand, scrub brush and creosote bushes. It lies on a low ridge not far from Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree, California, and is near to the Twenty-nine Palms Marine Corps Base and Joshua Tree National Monument (US).
In addition to being a province of our Republic, Desert Homestead is also a National Monument. It evokes not only the memory of the last Homestead Act of the United States, but also the memory of James E. Baugh, who had a dream to create a small legacy for his family in the desert. This legacy continues today, here in this harsh but lovely land.
The Original Desert Cabin