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The Harn Homestead offers a glimpse at life in pre-statehood Oklahoma



The Harn Homested and 1889ers Museum
1721 N. Lincoln
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday
Tours 11 a.m. and 1:30 and 3 p.m.
$5; seniors, $4

Only a short dash from the state Capitol, a bit of land run history awaits Boomers and Sooners ready to stake their claim on a piece of Oklahoma's territorial past.

Set on original land run property, the Harn Homestead and 1889ers Museum transports visitors back more than 100 years to a time before statehood. The open-air museum's collection of century-old homes, barns and buildings brings history to life through the story of Oklahoma pioneer William Fremont Harn.

Sent to the Oklahoma Territory in 1890 by President Benjamin Harrison to settle land ownership disputes, Harn built a one-room house on 160 acres of land in what is now the heart of Oklahoma City. When his wife became unhappy with her living arrangements, Harn wisely offered to upgrade their quarters, letting Mrs. Harn choose any home available from the Sears & Roebuck catalog.

The Victorian home she chose is now the centerpiece of the Harn Homestead Museum. Purchased for $2,000, the 2,500-square-foot Queen Anne home was shipped from Chicago by rail and constructed in just six weeks in 1904. The original one-room dwelling that drew such ire from Harn's bride was attached to the grand new home as its kitchen.

The two-story Harn house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is decorated with period furnishings, many donated by decedents of land run participants. The home even includes a link to presidential heritage. A huge canopy bed in the master bedroom once belonged to Abraham Lincoln's sister-in-law.

Several other structures have been moved to the property to complete the museum collection, including the one-room Stoney Point schoolhouse built in 1897. Also on the property is the 1890 Shepherd House, which is believed to be the first two-story home built in the Oklahoma Territory, as well as two barns, a log cabin, an early-1900s farmhouse and other outbuildings.
Harn's niece, who lived in the Harn house until the late 1960s, deeded the home and 9.4 acres to Oklahoma City as a museum in 1968.

The Harn Homested and 1889ers Museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, with guided tours of the Harn house at 11 a.m. and 1:30 and 3 p.m. General admission is $5, with $1 off for seniors. The museum is located just south of the state Capitol at 1721 N. Lincoln and online at "Charlie Price

Charlie Price writes online at
photo/Mark Hancock

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