- Ox-drawn wagons crossing the Unassigned Lands before the run. Teamsters delivered freight to Indian agencies and Fort Reno. Research Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society
- Soldiers setting up camp on the Military Reservation just before the Run. WHC, OU Libraries
- Postmaster Beidler points at Oklahoma Station from the Military Reservation shortly before the Run. Today's Santa Fe Train Station sits near the water tower shown in the picture. The tracks were elevated to their current level in the 1930s to minimize at-
Indians, Railroads, Ranchers & The Military
Two days before the Land Run in April, 1889, President Harrison set aside a Military Reservation of 160 acres east of the Santa Fe railroad depot, where soldiers were stationed to keep the peace.
In 1886 the first railroads were built through Oklahoma. Coming south from Kansas and north from Texas, the Santa Fe lines joined in Purcell, Oklahoma (in the Chickasaw Nation) in April, 1887. Thirty-five miles north of Purcell, the Oklahoma Station became an important stop. It served the military at Fort Reno, nearby Indian agencies, and ranchers transporting cattle from Indian lands in western Oklahoma.
On March 23, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed high noon on April 22 as the moment when settlers could legally enter the Unassigned Lands. By mid-April, the stockyards, side tracks, and depot facilities at Oklahoma Station were ready for a massive influx of settlers.
On April 20, President Harrison issued an executive order creating a Military Reservation of 160 acres east of the Santa Fe tracks and north of Reno. Soldiers under the command of Captain D. F. Stiles were stationed there to maintain law and order among the expected hordes.
The Homestead Act opens up settlement in the western U.S. by allowing any adult American to claim up to 160 acres of free federal land. 15,000 claims are made by the end of the Civil War.
The Civilized Tribes are forced to cede large portions of their land, including the Unassigned Lands, to the U.S. Government for relocation of other Native American nations.
Boomers begin attempts to settle in the Unassigned Lands. The U.S. military repeatedly forces them out.
The Santa Fe Railroad from Kansas to Texas is completed. Multiple stops are opened in the Unassigned Lands.
- January-March 1889
Creek and Seminole Nations release claims to the Unassigned Lands, and Congress approves opening the land for settlement.
- March-April 1889
"Boomer camps" pop up along and inside the borders of the Unassigned Lands.
- March 23, 1889
President Harrison's Proclamation sets noon on April 22 as the time and date for the Land Run
- April 19, 1889
Prospective settlers are escorted from the Kansas and Texas borders to the perimeter of the Unassigned Lands. Those already inside are required to leave.
- April 20, 1889
Land east of the railroad tracks at Oklahoma Station is reserved for military use
- April 22, 1889 at noon
Oklahoma Land Run officially begins.