GENE STRATTON PORTER STATE MEMORIAL
The Cabin in the ?Wildflower Woods? lies nestled on the shore of Sylvan Lake, near Rome City, Indiana. It is the former home of Gene Stratton-Porter, one of Indiana?s most widely read authors and one of the world?s first and best nature photographers.
Her writing career began when her first piece was accepted by Recreation magazine for which she received $16. She wrote regularly for this publication for two years and then joined the staff of Outing, a national natural history magazine. A year later, she decided she might be able to reach a larger audience if she ?sugar-coated? her nature studies with a veneer of fiction. This marked the beginning of Porter?s formula for her novels. Ungenerous critics accused her of larding her nature studies with romantic drivel to increase the sale of her books.
Porters first two novels were Song of the Cardinal in 1903 and Freckles in 1904. These books, along with three others, were written in her home in Geneva, Indiana. The house was named ?Limberlost? after the nearby Limberlost Swamp. It is also a state historic site.
What is now the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site was the Porter?s second home in 1913. The vast, undeveloped forest of this site provided a rich source of material for her nature studies, writings and photography. Porter developed the wildflower gardens using plants from all around the state. The gardens, arbor, orchard and many scenic paths are still intact. The site currently encompasses 20 of the property?s original 150 acres with a total of 132 acres.
?The Cabin in the Wildflower Woods,? designed by Porter, is a two-story cabin with exterior walls of Wisconsin cedar logs. Local wild cherry was used to panel the entrance hall and dining room. There are three extraordinary fireplaces on the first floor: one of polished English brick, one constructed of Indiana artifacts and stones collected from other states and one of puddin? stone.
Furnishings in the home are arranged and maintained to reflect?as authentically as possible?the Porter?s lifestyle. Much of the furniture and personal memorabilia, including Porter?s library, are preserved at the home.
In her lifetime, 1863-1924, Porter authored 12 novels, seven nature books, two books of poetry, 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 gravesites of Gene Stratton-Porter and her daughter Jeannette are located at this site.