History of the O & C Lands
The O & C Lands have a history unlike any other lands in the United States. The saga stretches back 150 years and encompasses the time of westward expansion and settlement, complete with railroad barons, a land grant of millions of acres, land fraud on a massive scale, and ultimately the reversal of the land grant. Peace and prosperity within the 18 O & C Counties has been periodically interrupted by economic strife and legal controversies at every level including more than one trip to the United States Supreme Court and multiple acts of Congress to solve problems traceable to the lands being returned to the federal government in 1916 after 40 years of private ownership.
More than fifty years of stability was achieved starting in 1937 with passage of the O & C Act, but that stability unraveled starting in the early 1990s. The courts and Congress have been unable to restore order to management of the O & C Lands over the last 25 years, but the legal issues are back in court and ripe for resolution as the O & C Lands enter the second half of their second century.