Gene Stratton-Porter’s Limberlost Swamp, Her Home & Life

Gene Stratton-Porter’s Limberlost Swamp, Her Home & Life

     Updated July 12, 2006       URL is

The Bird Woman

An Introduction to Gene Stratton-Porter’s Limberlost Swamp and Home in Geneva, Indiana

This Page’s Contents

Note to Students

Gene Stratton-Porter

The Cabin at the Limberlost Swamp

Links Out

And on the second page about the cabin

Friends of the Limberlost information,

Susan Wittig Albert,

Nancy Carlson, and

A bit about Gene Stratton-Porter books

Gene Stratton-Porter, World-Famous Naturalist

ene (born Geneva) Stratton-Porter is one of Indiana’s most famous female authors. Her life and intellect are fascinating. She was a prime example of an independent woman, an accomplished naturalist, a perfectionist extraordinaire and a born story-teller. Born near Wabash, Indiana in 1863, she lived until 1924. A streetcar accident claimed her life in Los Angeles at the height of her movie production career.

For a thorough biography of Gene Stratton-Porter, see her daughter Jeanette Porter Meehan’s book, The Lady of the Limberlost, ©Doubleday-Doran Company.

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The Cabin

his home is an Indiana State Historic Site, administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. There are only 16 of these historic sites in Indiana. The Porters built the home in 1895 after the birth of their only child, Jeannette. The white cedar logs used to construct the home came from Wisconsin. The architectural style is an unusual "Queen Anne Rustic," actually Arts and Crafts style. The interior is more indicative of the late Victorian period. Much of the interior paneling is quarter sawn red oak. The music room’s lincrusta is beautifully restored.

The Limberlost Cabin has 14 rooms, many of them restored to their original detail by skilled artisans. Remember that this was a very visual lady. Her home reflects a fantastic attention to detail, yet is as warm and embracing as any you will ever see. Becky Smith is the Curator, in costume, and the Friends Of The Limberlost, local knowledgeable enthusiasts, present events throughout the year, as well as welcoming you and showing you each room.

The "cabin" was obtained by the Limberlost Conservation Association of Geneva and donated to the state of Indiana in 1947. Some kind people have donated pieces of the original Grand Rapids (Michigan) furniture back to the cabin. Some of the furniture was still in the home when it was donated to the state. Only one family had lived in it after the Porters sold it. It was sold because by 1913, the swamp was drained, so Mrs. Porter lost her outdoor laboratory and her Geneva area source of inspiration. There is a successful program underway among the local admirers to buy and re-flood the acres.

Seeking a less developed area, in 1913, the Porters built Wildflower Woods on 150 acres on Sylvan Lake in Rome City, Indiana. Mrs. Porter was recently re-interred at this site, having been previously buried in California. She was living there when she was killed because her chauffeur drove into the path of a trolley.  She had moved to California to be near her daughter. Her daughter’s husband was producing movies of her books!

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Here is the house a few years ago, before it was painted and landscaped. I’ll post a newer postcard of the cabin! This doesn’t do it justice at all. This photo is copyright by the Indiana State Museum Shop. It owns all rights.


The great telephoto bird pictures are borrowed from the superb birding website of Ron Rothman. Be sure to visit his newest site, 2005.

The goldfinch facing left should be credited to Michael H. Myers who is kind to share it with us.

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