University of Oregon

MAP Library

About GLO Maps

General Land Office Maps of Oregon were created by surveyors in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. These maps are some of most detailed information that exists about land-use and ownership during white settlement of the West.

The map library has a collection of General Land Office Cadastral Survey Maps for Oregon sorted by township and range. Scanned images of the GLO maps are also available on the map library webpage. These are JPEG images in .zip files (this website gives details about other states' GLO map collections). The Microforms Department also has copies of the GLO maps and surveyors' notes on microfiche located at MICROFICHE F 881 .C32 1982. For background information and instructions on the rectangular survey system see A History of the Rectangular Survey System (KNIGHT TA 521.W47 1983, DOCUMENTS I 53.0:SU 7/2 and at the Microforms area desk).

About the Land Survey

The Land Ordinance of 1785 mandated that land be surveyed using the Rectangular Survey System, still in use today. This system divided the land into townships and ranges along meridians and baselines. Each township was six miles square. The townships were further divided into 36 sections, each one mile square or 640 acres. Thirty states used the rectangular system of surveying.

The thirteen colonies and their territories (the states of Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Hawaii and Texas) used the system of metes and bounds or other methods to survey the land.

In the West, the Homestead Act of 1862 allowed the settlement of public lands and required only residence and improvement and cultivation of the land. Any person 21 years of age or older could apply to receive land. With five years of residence and improvements made to the land only a $15 fee was required to receive 160 acres of land. The Homestead Act was repealed in 1976.


Created by kstroud on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Jul 25, 2012
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