Author, photographer, naturalist, entrepreneur — Gene Stratton-Porter was a woman ahead of her time. Her Cabin at Wildflower Woods is nestled on the shores of Sylvan Lake amongst 148 acres of fields, woods and beautiful formal gardens.
Gene Stratton-Porter is Indiana’s most widely read female author, as well as a gifted nature photographer and entrepreneur. She began her career writing about nature for magazines. Soon she decided to reach larger audiences by sweetening her nature studies with a veneer of fiction. Porter's first novel was 1903’s The Song of the Cardinal, although Michael O’Halloran, 1915, was the first book she wrote in Rome City.
In her lifetime, 1863 to 1924, Porter authored 12 novels, seven nature studies, three poetry books, children’s books and numerous magazine articles. With an estimated 50 million readers, her works have been translated into several foreign languages as well as Braille. Eight of her novels were produced as motion pictures.
The Cabin at Wildflower Woods
Designed by Gene Stratton-Porter and completed in 1914, the cabin is nestled on the shores of Sylvan Lake, near Rome City, Ind. The exterior walls are of Wisconsin cedar logs, and local wild cherry panels the entrance hall and dining room. There are three extraordinary fireplaces: one of polished English brick, one constructed of Native American artifacts and stones collected from other states and one of puddingstone. The vast, undeveloped forest provided a rich source of material for her nature studies, writings and photography.
Furnishings in the home are arranged and maintained to reflect Porter’s lifestyle. Much of the furniture and personal collections, including Porter’s library, are preserved at the home.
As you visit the site, be sure to enjoy the loving touches Gene added to her little bit of paradise. Masterfully sculpted from Bedford limestone, great horned owls perch atop puddingstone pillars; a 35-bed formal garden accented with a 120-foot-long wisteria-covered arbor; Sower’s Woods’ beautifully maintained trail benches provide a quiet place to relax; and an artesian well and puddingstone walkway grace the shoreline of Sylvan Lake.
The gravesites of Gene Stratton-Porter and her daughter Jeannette are located on this 148-acre site.
The Song of the Cardinal, 1903
At the Foot of the Rainbow, 1907
A Girl of the Limberlost, 1909
The Harvester, 1911
Michael O’Halloran, 1915
A Daughter of the Land, 1918
The Keeper of the Bees, 1921
Her Father’s Daughter, 1921
The White Flag, 1923
The Magic Garden, 1927
What I Have Done with Birds, 1907
Birds of the Bible, 1909
Music of the Wild, 1910
After the Flood, 1911
Moths of the Limberlost, 1912
Birds of the Limberlost, 1914
Homing with the Birds, 1919
Tales You Won’t Believe, 1925
Poetry and Essays:
Morning Face, 1916
The Fire Bird, 1922
Jesus of the Emerald, 1923
Let Us Highly Resolve, 1927
Gene Stratton-Porter Home
Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site is open:
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and December through March, except by appointment.
The grounds are open dawn to dusk year-round.
Tours begin every hour on the hour with the last tour beginning promptly at 4 p.m.
Purchase admission tickets in the Carriage House Visitor Center.
|Children under 3||FREE|
Indiana State Museum members and members of other State Historic Sites Friends Groups get FREE admission and a 10 percent discount in the gift shop!
*Child: ages 3 through 12
*Senior: age 60 and older
Group/School Tours: Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more and for school groups. Call 260.854.3790 to schedule your group.
DIRECTIONS AND PARKING
Where to park
Visitors may park in the free Visitor’s Parking lot on Pleasant Point. Visitors with mobility disabilities may park in the lot nearest the Carriage House Visitor’s Center or call 260.854.3790 for a free ride in the Limberlost Trolley.
*Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site's Cabin at Wildflower Woods is not handicap accessible.
Wildflower Walk & Brunch
Enjoy a hearty brunch at the Carriage House and take a 30-45 minute interpretive walking tour through Gene’s woods and part of her formal or “Tame” gardens. See why she named her property “Wildflower Woods” and learn many of the old-fashioned common names for wildflowers used in her time. This event is rain or shine so please dress appropriately.
Birding with Gene Field Trips
Join GSP Site Manager Dave Fox on field trips to some of the best birding hot spots in the region! Guests will travel to Pigeon River and surrounding spots in Northeast Indiana during spring migration in May then head to Jasper-Pulaski to see the amazing Sandhill Crane migration in November.
Moonlight Garden Tour
Enjoy an elegant evening in Gene’s “Tame” garden with luminaries providing atmosphere under the light of a full moon. The “Tame” garden is home to hundreds of species of plants - many planted by Gene herself! Live music, wine tasting and white chocolate-dipped strawberries add to the romance of the evening.
Does not include tour of the Cabin.
Indiana Master Naturalist Course
Learn about Indiana’s natural history with this nine week course in partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Purdue Extension and Soil & Water Conservation. Students will hear from experts on eight different topics such as trees, birds, ecology and wildflowers. For more information on the Indiana Master Naturalist program, visit www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/6321.htm or call the Site.
Cost covers class, field guides, test and certification.
Star Gazing and Night Hike
The site’s naturalist will lead an interpretive walk through Sower's Woods to introduce visitors the creatures of the night. Bats, owls, moths and other critters make an appearance. Depending on the clarity of the sky, star gazing will be available to identify major constellations, satellites and other celestial bodies. Bring binoculars for a closer view of the stars.
Join us to celebrate Gene Stratton-Porter’s birthday with Chautauqua Days! Festival activities include tasty food, live music and other entertainment including the Plein Air Painters, classic automobiles, cuisine seasoned with herbs from the garden, old-fashioned crafts, children's activities, demonstrators and more. Workshops will be held on various topics such as photography, reptiles & amphibians, insects and more.
Join staff and local hunters to taste delicious samples of local wild game. This is an excellent opportunity to try something different, and swap tips and tricks with fellow hunters around the bonfire. Everything from goose, deer, dove, fish and squirrel will be used to create these dishes! Conservation organizations and local Conservation Officers will be on hand to answer questions. So stop by, say “hello”, and try something different!
Gene Stratton-Porter Autumn Tea
Join us for our annual autumn tea! Experience the elegance and natural beauty of the site with tea and lovingly-baked delicacies served on fine china. Music and a guest speaker will provide afternoon entertainment. Participants also can take a guided tour through Gene’s Cabin and formal gardens. If you choose to wear your “tea-time best” make sure your attire includes appropriate walking shoes as you have the option to walk the grounds.
Featuring activities for all ages, not to mention some spooks and scares. Come learn about owls, bats, raccoons, snakes, and other creatures of the night. Children are encouraged to attend in costume and learn more about the wildlife in the woods and enjoy treats as various stops along the way. Bring a flashlight for additional fun!
Birding with Gene Field Trips
Join GSP Site Manager Dave Fox on field trips to some of the best birding hot spots in the region! Guests will travel to Jasper-Pulaski to see the amazing Sandhill Crane migration.
"A Dream of Beauty" Holiday Walk
Visit the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site when it is all decked out for the holidays! Mrs. Porter's Cabin will be open and decorated according to Gene’s description of the Christmas of 1917, which she called "A Dream of Beauty." Visitors will be able to enjoy live entertainment, holiday goodies, crafts and activities with wagon rides given by the Noble County Draft Horse Association. Santa will be on hand in the Cabin to visit with children and families. Visitors will be able to ride a horse-drawn wagon from the parking area to the Cabin at Wildflower Woods.
EDUCATION EVENTS & STANDARDS
AT GENE STRATTON-PORTER S.H.S.
Gene Stratton-Porter, an accomplished Hoosier writer of novels and nature studies, was one of the foremost naturalists of her time. She also formed a production company that made eight of her own books into motion pictures. This site contains her original cabin from 1914, 148 acres of fields, woods and beautiful formal gardens with 35 beds along the shores of Sylvan Lake.
Academic topics covered:
- Natural History
- Early 20th Century Culture (1913 - 1925)
- Art, Science, Reading and Writing
Grades K – 12
GSP School Group Tours
A Tour of Gene’s Cabin:
Grounds and Garden Tour:
Grades K – 12
Design your Education Workshop
Educators may request a specialty program for an additional fee; program topics include natural