Shawnee, Miami, Mingo and Chickasaw Indians originally hunted in the area of Gorman Heritage Farm. Their trails led from the Ohio River north to settlements near Yellow Springs. These trails eventually became military roads as the European settlers pushed further to the west and north. In 1789, James Cunningham moved from Kentucky to 640 acres of land which included the low hills, the limestone slope and the lowland fields which are now Gorman Heritage Farm. By 1835, the land was owned by Edward Brown, a Scottish immigrant.
It is believed, through family history, that Edward built the original house, bank barn and springhouse. Eventually, Edward Brown sold his land to a cousin, George Brown, and moved with his immediate family to Illinois. One of George Brown’s daughters, Isabella, married Amos Gorman and together they had six children, one of whom was “Pete” Gorman, the father of Jim and Dorothy Gorman. Jim and Dorothy Gorman took over operation of the farm in 1943.
In 1996, after years of careful planning, Dorothy and Jim turned their beloved farm over to the Cincinnati Nature Center. Under the stewardship of the CNC, the farm was transformed from a family farm to the Heritage Farm and outdoor education center as we know it today. New elements, such as the hiking trails, children’s garden and educational programs were added to ensure visitors would have the opportunity to enjoy the property, while learning about farming and healthy use of the land. Also in 1996, the Village of Evendale donated a 22-acre land parcel along Reading Road, and built the interpretive building and parking lot.
In 2003, the Cincinnati Nature Center turned the farm over to the Village of Evendale, who established the Gorman Heritage Farm Foundation to operate the farm. The Foundation, its board of directors and the farm staff remain committed to preserving the legacy entrusted to them by Dorothy and Jim Gorman.