The Land That Inspired The Books
To famed Indiana author Gene Stratton-Porter, the Limberlost Swamp was the perfect playground, laboratory and inspiration for her acclaimed articles, fiction and photographs. At a time when most women were homemakers, Stratton-Porter created a lasting legacy of northern Indiana’s vanishing natural history through her writings and photos. In the 18 years that she lived at Limberlost, she wrote six of her 12 novels and five of her seven nature books, including the best-selling “Freckles” and “A Girl of the Limberlost.” An estimated 50 million people worldwide have read her works, and many of her novels were produced as motion pictures.
Born in 1863 near Wabash, Indiana, Geneva Grace Stratton grew up with a passion and love for the unspoiled outdoors — a love she kept throughout her life as a respected author, naturalist, photographer and illustrator. After the birth of her daughter, Jeannette, Gene and her young family moved in 1888 to Geneva, near the Limberlost Swamp — an area once described as a “treacherous swamp and quagmire, filled with every plant, animal and human danger known — in the worst of such locations in the central states.”
Stretching for 13,000 acres the vast forest and swampland was legendary for its quicksand and unsavory characters. The swamp received its name from Limber Jim, who got lost while hunting in the swamp. When the news spread, the cry went out “Limber’s lost!” The Porters lived here until the swamp was drained in 1913. She then built a new home on the shore of Sylvan Lake near Rome City.
Get Lost in the Swamp
Gene Stratton-Porter wrote more than half her novels and nature books while living in Geneva. She wrote six novels – including “Freckles” and “A Girl of the Limberlost” — while living in Limberlost Cabin, which still includes her legendary desk that once belonged to Booth Tarkington, one of only three different novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once.
Tour the House
Step inside the actual cabin where Gene lived — a 13-room Queen Anne rustic log cabin furnished in Victorian and Arts and Crafts styles. You can also tour her greenhouse.
Explore the Grounds
Gene Stratton-Porter spent years documenting moths in the wild. Today, you can explore a portion of her moth collection, then take to the great outdoors and find out how many moths you can count and identify on the grounds.
Take a Hike
Hike through Loblolly Marsh to see many different types of birds and other wildlife that call the site home. Nature programs throughout the summer also offer visitors a chance to enjoy guided tours of the land surrounding the site with an on-staff naturalist.
Explore Nature Preserves
Experience the amazing nature preserves that inspired Hoosier author and photographer Gene Stratton-Porter on this tour led by a certified naturalist.
Choose from one of five different Limberlost nature preserves – one of which includes a trail that is accessible for persons using wheelchairs – or explore Gene’s world and visit sites important to her writings and personal life. Tours are available year-round, weather permitting.
Programs & Events
Oct 1, 2022 9:00 am - 12:00 pmLimberlost
Guided Tour of Rainbow Bottom
Oct 8, 2022 9:00 am - 12:00 pmLimberlost
Guided Tour of the Limberlost Swamp Nature Preserve
Oct 15, 2022 9:00 am - 12:00 pmLimberlost
Guided Tour of the Music of the Wild Nature Preserve
Oct 28, 2022 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmLimberlost
Devil in the White City
OUTDOOR PROGRAMMING SUPPORTED BY
The Legend of Limberlost
Smithsonian Magazine writer Kathryn Aalto visited with Indiana State Museum and Historic Site staff members to better understand the impact of Gene Stratton-Porter’s legacy, and its connection to Limberlost.Read the Story
See all the natural beauty of Limberlost as a Member today!
Limberlost offers members year-round opportunities to explore nature and walk away inspired and refreshed.Become a Member Today
The beauty of Limberlost
Plan Your Trip
Wednesday – Sunday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays*, Tuesdays, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Open *Martin Luther King Jr. Day (FREE), *President’s Day (FREE), *Memorial Day, *Labor Day
Open for preregistered programs only on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Timed, indoor tours are available Wednesday through Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 pm. Self-guided tours of the Limberlost Nature Preserve are available all day.Purchase Tickets
Walk up tour tickets are subject to availability. Purchasing online or by calling the site is recommended to ensure tour registration.
Visiting on a free day? Specific site access and tour space will be limited. Please contact the site in advance of your visit to learn more and reserve your space.
If you plan on visiting the site during the months school is in session, Wednesday through Friday, please call ahead. Due to a number of school groups visits, guided tours may be limited. Please call ahead to find out if your visit may be impacted.
For groups of 15 or more, adult tickets are $6, senior tickets are $5, and youth tickets are $2. Group tickets must be purchased in person.
Special discounts are available for educators and education groups, military, Access Pass holders and more. View all discounts >>
Field trip admission is free for pre-scheduled, accredited schools and homeschool groups of 10 or more Indiana K-12 students. Call 260.368.7428 to schedule your visit.
Academic topics covered include natural history, environmental science, multidisciplinary learning to combine art, science and reading and writing from 1880s-1913.
Learn more about field trip and school program offerings in the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites PreK-12 Education Program Guide. View guide >>
If you are a photographer looking to book a shoot at Limberlost State Historic Site, please review our commercial photography policy and application process. Learn more >>
LOOKING TO BOOK A FIELD TRIP?
Help bring history, science, art and education to life for your students with a one-of-a-kind field trip experience. All state historic sites support Indiana Academic Standards, and feature a variety of academic topics. Call 260.368.7428 to schedule your visit to Limberlost.Learn More in Our Educator Program Guide
200 Sixth St., Geneva, IN 46740
Off of S. Main St., there will be a large yellow Limberlost State Historic Site sign on the east side of the road. Turn onto 6th St. and into the parking lot.
Posted September 16, 2022
How dedicated Mrs. Porter was to photography
The fervor Gene Stratton-Porter applied to the medium of photography is astonishing.
Posted March 1, 2022
Women’s History Month
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I Have a Dream: Dr. King’s Legacy Lives On
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Trips and Tips
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Posted June 28, 2021
She’s Seen It All
Over six months, Dawn Overend used some of her time during the pandemic to tour all of our state historic sites.
Posted May 14, 2020
Adults Night In: Naturalist Night
We are taking some inspiration from Gene Stratton-Porter, a famous novelist, naturalist and photographer, and becoming a naturalist for a night!