Geneva Indiana Auto Tour for Gene Stratton-Porter

Geneva Indiana Auto Tour for Gene Stratton-Porter

     Updated March 18, 2008   URL is 

Gene Stratton-Porter, Brief Auto-Tour

of the Rainbow Bottom and Canoper

This self-guided tour follows the Geneva Area Map available on this site.


From the Limberlost State Historic Site, go north on Decatur Street to Line Street (the Bank of Geneva.) Go right on Line Street to view the Geneva skyline.

At the end of the skyline buildings, turn left on Railroad Street and continue until Rainbow Road. Turn right onto Rainbow road and continue around left curve, then north to the T-intersection with 950 South. Turn right onto 950 South and follow the curves. You are now in Ceylon. Continue through Ceylon; the road name changes to Covered Bridge Road.

Limberlost County Park contains 56 acres of Rainbow Bottom, the area that inspired Gene Stratton-Porter’s first novel, The Song of the Cardinal -1903. The majestic sycamore tree she mentions in the book still stands in the northern part of the park. You can reach it by hiking the trail along the Wabash River. Also, a small stand of native prairie grass is located west of the bridge.

The Wabash River has been declared by Indiana law to be the official State River. Because of the river’s significance, Indiana’s Wabash River Heritage Corridor Commission was established to promote the conservation and the development of its natural, cultural and recreational resources.

The native Miami called the river "Wah-Bah-Shik-ka" meaning "pure white" for the color of its waters as they flowed across a bright limestone bed in the upper reaches. The French called it "Ouabache." (passage taken from the Upper Wabash River Comprehensive Watershed Resource Management Plan.)

The Wabash’s waters are not "pure white" due mainly to the sediment frm intensive agricultural operations that deliver sediment into the river. Establishing a 20 foot permanent strip of land (a filter strip) or trees (riparian corridor) along both sides of all the smaller streams will effectively reduce much of the sediment load in the Wabash.

TOUR: Continue on Covered Bridge Road until you reach 000 Road. Turn left and go about a quarter-mile north. At the top of the hill, turn left onto 850 South. 850 South is the levee road for the Canoper.

The Canoper was the flood plains of the Wabash River until the levee was constructed. Although the levee effectively prevents the Canoper from flooding, it increases flooding on other nearby properties. Pumps are housed in the small white building, and they are required to remove the water from the Canoper. Projects like the Canoper levee are seldom permitted today. You can see the high cost of construction and the constant energy use while pumping water to make the land suitable for agriculture. On the left is the closed Adams County landfill.


Continue across US 27 until you reach 150 West, a T-intersection. Turn left on 150 West and continue back to Geneva.

150 West is the historic Winchester Road that connected Winchester with Fort Wayne. Its completion in 1833 allowed early settlers a rough but greatly improved road. You’ll cross the Wabash River and drive past the Studebaker cemetery where Wabash Township’s first permanent settler, Peter Studebaker, is buried.

Be sure to take the other local auto tour through the Limberlost and Loblolly Watershed.

Here is a list of all Our Gene Stratton-Porter pages

Official State Historic (Web)Site

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