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Bernheim Forest celebrates 95 years

The forest is a nonagenarian.

LOUtoday_forest giants

Little Elina is one of the Bernheim giants, an iconic part of the forest’s allure.

Photo by LOUtoday

Last week, Bernheim Forest celebrated its 95th birthday — we suggest skipping the candles for this one, Bernheim.

To honor nearly a lifetime of memories at the 16,000-acre wood, here’s a look at some big moments that helped shape Bernheim into the natural landscape we know today:

  • 1929: Isaac W. Bernheim, a German-born businessman and bourbon distiller, purchased 14,000 acres of land ~30 miles south of Louisville as a gift to the public. Fun fact: Bernheim also donated the Abraham Lincoln statue outside the Main Library Branch and the Thomas Jefferson statue outside Metro Hall.
  • 1947: The forest opened its education center.
  • 1980: Bernheim’s artist-in-residence program began.
  • 1988: The forest was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
  • 2019: To celebrate the forest’s 90th birthday, Danish artist Thomas Dambo constructed three giants in the forest — Mama Loumari with her children, Little Nis and Little Elina.