Hannah and Eliza Gorman House Corvallis, Oregon

The Hannah and Eliza Gorman House was built by Black women pioneers in 1857-66 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

Quick Facts

Go Historic ID
1338917
Names
Hannah and Eliza Gorman House
Peter Polly House former
Coordinates
44.5700948° N, 123.2588343° W
Dates
1857-66

Historic Highlights

  •   Built by unmarried Black pioneer women (mother and daughter)
  •   Built when Oregon's exclusion laws prohibited African Americans from owning property
  •   May be the oldest extant dwelling in Oregon originally owned by African-American overland emigrants
  •   One of only a handful of pioneer-era houses remaining in Corvallis

Quotes

[Eliza and Hannah Gorman] by industry and economy, had built them a comfortable home, furnished it in good style and surrounded it with fruit, flowers and everything necessary to human comfort and happiness.

The Corvallis Gazette, July 17, 1869

Location Map

Map showing the location of the Hannah and Eliza Gorman House, Corvallis, Oregon. (Note: The address shown in the upper-left panel is sometimes inaccurate.) Click here to view larger.

Aerial View

Aerial view of the Hannah and Eliza Gorman House, Corvallis, Oregon. (Note: The address shown in the upper-left panel is sometimes inaccurate.) Click here to view larger.

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Timeline

c. 1857
Construction of the Hannah and Eliza Gorman House begins (one-story wing)
c. 1866
Second phase of construction at the Hannah and Eliza Gorman House (1½-story upright)
1875
Hannah Gorman sells her house to Peter Polly
24 Feb 2015
Hannah and Eliza Gorman House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
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National Register Data

The Hannah and Eliza Gorman House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places with the following information. Note: some of this data may have become outdated since the listing date. View full NRHP data →

National Register ID
15000045
Date Listed
20150224
Name
Gorman, Hannah and Eliza, House
Other Names
Polly, Peter, House
Part of
Settlement-era Dwellings, Barns and Farm Groups of the Willamette Valley, Oregon MPS (MPS=Multiple Property Submission)
Address
641 NW. 4th St.
City/Town
Corvallis
County
Benton
State
Oregon
Category
building
Level of Significance
state
Areas of Significance
EXPLORATION/SETTLEMENT; BLACK

National Register History Summary

The circa 1857-circa 1866 Gorman House is locally significant under National Register Criterion A in the area of Exploration/Settlement as one of only a handful of pioneer-era houses remaining in the community of Corvallis. Once common in this urban setting, today only six settlement-era dwellings remain in the Corvallis city limits, and just fourteen survive throughout Benton County. The Gorman House is also significant at the statewide level under Criterion A in the area of Ethnic Heritage for its intimate association with Oregon’s black pioneer history. The house is the only identified extant residence in Benton County that was owned and occupied by former African American slaves who crossed the Oregon Trail during the settlement period. Further, current research suggests that it may be the oldest extant dwelling in Oregon that was originally owned, during the pioneer period, by African American overland emigrants. Having been freed from bondage, Hannah and Eliza Gorman, mother and daughter, both unmarried, purchased the property and built the subject house during a period in which Oregon’s exclusion laws prohibited African Americans from owning property... more →

National Register Description Summary

The circa 1857-1866 Hannah and Eliza Gorman House is located at 641 NW 4th Street in Corvallis, Benton County, Oregon. Sited mid-block on a 75’ x 100’ city lot, the modest 925-square-foot building comprises two volumes built in two phases creating an upright-and-wing form with Gothic Revival stylistic influences. The earlier volume is the vernacular one-story, single-cell (one room) wing, built of stud-wall construction by or for the Gormans circa 1857. The Gothic Revival 1½-story front-gabled upright was built using the box construction method about 1866, and was attached to the north wall of the wing, creating the “upright-and-wing” building form seen today (Photo 1). A non-contributing, twentieth century garage is the only other building on the property. The site is simply landscaped with street trees, lawn, and foundation plantings. Although there have been some alterations to the building, most dating to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the house retains integrity from its period of significance, circa 1857 to circa 1866, in the areas of design, workmanship, feeling, location, and association... more →