S3 -Episode 1 – Gorman House

In the Grand Finale of Season Two we introduced you to a mother and daughter who came to Oregon in 1844. They were slaves at the beginning of their journey along the Oregon Trail–freed while living and working in Oregon. 

This is where we, Dear Intrepid Explorer, begin our journey this Spectres Past season – with mother Hannah, and daughter Eliza–two of Benton County’s industrious and community-minded residents.


Explore the history of these former slaves – a mother and daughter duo who – in the face of enormous odds became land and service business owners beloved by their community in Corvallis Oregon.


Solve the challenges starting by clicking the ONLINE ADVENTURE button to unravel the story and find out what was really happening on that fateful day!


Click the ONLINE ADVENTURE button on the upper right corner to get started!

OR, if you are intent on doing this adventure ON THE GROUND, please download the PDF version for old-fashioned paper version.  

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Online Adventure

The Historic Resources Which Inspired Episode One Challenges

Plot plan of the Gorman House

This Historic property in Corvallis, Benton County, Oregon is believed ot be one of the oldest homes know to have been owned by African American (Freed slaves) in Oregon. The house was slated for demolition, and was saved from the wrecking ball by Patricia Benner and partner Tony Howell in 2004. 

Patricia and Tony find the story of the mother-daughter owners, Hannah and Eliza Gorman, inspiring – so much so that Patricia is wrtiing about they and the home they shared in Corvallis Oregon.

Writes Patricia in the Forward to her forthcoming book, Hannah and Eliza Gorman: Mother and Daughter, Oregon Black Pioneers – Excerpts of their Story, “As I have gotten to know Hannah and Eliza Gorman through the small remnants of information left about them, I have been inspired and in awe of these two women. To be black, women, and born into slavery, and at a time with its tough set of challenges…to not only thrive, but to contribute…”

tcha Timanwi (aka Marys Peak)

photograph © Mark van der Pol

Marys Peak, at 4,097 feet, is the highest point in Oregon’s Coast Range and the most prominent peak to the west of Corvallis.

According to the Benton County Historical Society, the native Kalapuya called the peak tcha Timanwi, or ‘place of spiritual power.’

On June 15, 2019, the Oregon Geographic Names Board unanimously endorsed a proposal to give Native American names to 10 unnamed creeks that flow down Mary’s Peak. The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians were enlisted to be involved in representing the ancient indigenous groups and selecting the new names. The names proposed for adoption are in the languages of the Kalapuya, Wusi’n and Yaqo’n people who originally inhabited the land. Approval from the national board may take up to a year.1

We are grateful to...