Isaac W. Bernheim established Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in 1929. I. W. Bernheim (1848-1945) was a German immigrant who settled in Kentucky. From a humble beginning as a peddler, he became successful in the whiskey distilling business where he established the I.W. Harper brand. Grateful for his good fortune, he gave Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest to the people of Kentucky as a gift.
“….I have expressed my intention that said property … be held in trust … and said fourteen thousand (14,000) acres be used for a park, for an arboretum, and, under certain conditions, for a museum, all of which are to be developed and forever maintained … for the people of Kentucky, and their friends, as a place to further their love of the beautiful in nature and in art, and in kindred cultural subjects, and for educational purposes, and as a means of strengthening their love and devotion to their state and country.”