Make your home page

Gene Stratton-Porter remembered

ROME CITY, Ind. (WISH) — Not only was Gene Stratton-Porter one of Indiana’s most well-known authors but she was also an environmentalist, a photographer, artist and musician.

She passed away in 1924 but not before leaving behind quite the legacy.

She moved to Rome City, Indiana 10 years before she died. That is where we traveled to tell her story at sylvan lake.

“Her writing at the time really clicked with people,” site manager Dave Fox said.

“She still to this day is Indiana’s most widely read female authors, but she was really at the forefront of anything you could imagine. She was an amazing photographer, writer, she owned one of America’s first movie production companies,” Fox added

She was born on August 17, 1863 in Wabash County, Indiana. A Hoosier to her core, Porter had 11 siblings. And although she never finished high school she was well-read and became a scholar of ecology and wildlife.

“Her father and mother really gave her ownership of all the nature on their 80 acre farm, so that really started her interest in the wild things of the area and when she was living in Geneva, she started writing about nature.” Fox said.

21 books would follow and she would go on to buy 120 acres on Sylvan Lake in Rome City. That land is well studied by Hoosiers all across the state.

“I’m just blown away and I would come back definitely,” visitor Sally Barcaw said

Today the land is maintained by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Site Corporation.

Porter died in a street car accident in 1924. It happened in Los Angeles but 75 years later, her remains were moved back to Indiana and were laid to rest near her cabin in Wild Flower Woods.

“She built a 4,300 square foot cabin, the carriage house, a bath house, boat house, garden shed, a 1.2 acre garden,” Fox said.

“She came here because it was so pristine and beautiful and she actually wanted to donate it to the state in the 1920’s for it to become a state park, so the wish was always for it to remain just how it was when she came here. And fortunately, those wishes were honored,” Fox added

Porter was inducted into the Indiana Natural Resources Hall of Fame in 2009.

If you would like to know more about Gene Stratton-Porter or the historic site, click here.