Geneva “Gene” Stratton was born in 1863 on a farm near Wabash to nature-loving parents. It is because of their strong influence that nature was a continuous theme throughout their daughter’s life as an author, naturalist, photographer, and illustrator. She is “one of Indiana’s most widely read authors and one of the world’s first and best nature photographers.” Stratton married Charles Dorwin Porter in 1886, and they lived in Decatur for a few years before building a home near the Limberlost Swamp in 1895. Gene designed the 14-room house herself and named it after the swamp that covered 13,000 acres in Adams and Jay Counties. The couple and their daughter lived at Limberlost for 18 years until the swamp was drained. In 1913, they moved to Sylvan Lake near Rome City in Noble County.
Gene Stratton-Porter’s writing career began with an article published in Recreation magazine. She continued to write for them for the next two years. She then moved to Outing, a national natural history magazine. She eventually decided to add fictional elements to her nature writing in an effort to attract a wider audience. Other magazines that she contributed to include Ladies’ Home Journal, McCall’s, Century, and Good Housekeeping. While she resided at Limberlost, Gene Stratton-Porter wrote six novels and five nature books--the first, "Song of the Cardinal", in 1903, followed by "Freckles" the next year.
In 1947, the cabin was given to the State of Indiana by the Limberlost Conservation Association of Geneva. It is maintained by the State as a historic site and has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
For more information on the life of Gene Stratton-Porter, look at our Gene Stratton-Porter and "The Cabin in Wildflower Woods" pages!