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Allow 1-2 days per destination
Indiana has been home to many famous people, from actors and musicians to presidents and entrepreneurs. Pay homage to famous Hoosiers by visiting the cabins, houses and mansions they once called home.
Today, Studebaker is a well-known name in the automobile industry - but when Clem Studebaker completed his South Bend Mansion in 1889, the brand was known for making wagons. With 40 rooms, 20 fireplaces and 26,000 square feet, South Bend's Tippecanoe Place is a breathtaking sight to behold. Dine among the fascinating antiques and hand-crafted wood detailing that adorn the building, now a restaurant. The mansion's elegant atmosphere sets the mood for gourmet cuisine, fine wines and romance as you devour brunch, lunch or dinner indoors or on the sun porch.
Gene Stratton-Porter, one of Indiana's most widely read authors and one of the world's first and best nature photographers, drew inspiration from her two Indiana homes. Near Geneva, explore the Limberlost State Historic Site , including Porter's 14-room, Queen Anne rustic log cabin, completed in 1895. The author penned six novels and seven nature books while living in this cabin on the banks of treacherous swampland and a vast forest. Follow her to the Gene Stratton-Porter Cabin in Rome City, known to Porter as "The Cabin in Wildflower Woods," where she moved in 1913. Meander through the wildflower gardens, arbor and orchard Porter tended and visit her gravesite. Inside the two-story cabin, explore Porter's library, filled with much of her own personal furniture and memorabilia, and admire three extraordinary fireplaces, including one constructed from Indiana artifacts.
In Greenfield, discover the home of the "Hoosier Poet" at the James Whitcomb Riley Old Home & Museum . Here, one of the 19th century's greatest literary figures drew inspiration from the Indiana countryside and wrote many of his poems. Tour the museum to view some of Riley's original works and experience life in the 1850s and '60s. Step into the beginning of the 19th century at the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home in Indianapolis, where Riley spent 23 of his later years. As you peruse the author's belongings, including his writing desk and portrait of his beloved dog, imagine the author poring over one of his 1,044 published poems, such as his most famous, "Little Orphant Annie."
Celebrate the achievements of the 23rd U.S. president at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis. Tour ten beautiful rooms, including the grand third-floor ballroom, as you learn about Harrison's life and legacy, from his time as a Civil War officer through his service as president. The house includes many pieces of furniture and personal items that belonged to the Harrisons themselves and has been decorated so that you see the house much as the Harrison family did. Experience the home in a new light by visiting during one of their many year-round events, including theater shows, living history interactions, literary readings and a July 4th ice cream social.
Learn more about the author of the 19th century's best-selling novel, Ben-Hur, by visiting the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum in Crawfordsville. Completed in 1898, the study is a freestanding building featuring Romanesque, Byzantine and Periclean Greek architecture, as well as limestone porches, a copper roof and a cupola. An intricate limestone frieze that wreathes the building contains four faces representing characters from Wallace's novels Ben-Hur and The Prince of India. Inside, large oak bookcases line the walls and artifacts chronicle almost every aspect of Wallace's life - including his stints as Civil War soldier, governor of the New Mexico territory, author of seven major literary works and U.S. ambassador to Turkey. Take a stroll or enjoy a picnic on the 3.5 acres encompassing the unique study.
In Terre Haute, take a closer look at a Hoosier who was twice willing to face imprisonment for a cause. At the 1890 Eugene V. Debs Home , the legend of this political activist, labor leader, orator and five-time American Socialist Party presidential candidate comes to life. Roam the beautifully preserved library, parlor, bedrooms and more, admiring artifacts belonging to the Debs and photographs of the family. Behind the house, walk through the Virgil Morris Memorial Gardens, where plaques honor other early labor leaders.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Brown County, the T.C. Steele State Historic Site commemorates the famous Indiana landscape painter known for his picturesque portrayals of nature. Tour the charming "House of the Singing Winds" and Steele's studio to view his works - then trek through ridgetops and ravines on one of five hiking trails or explore the 92-acre Selma Steele Nature Preserve to get a glimpse of Steele's natural inspiration. Visit in October to take the Brown County Backroads Tour through studios of noted contemporary artists and interact with a visiting artist at the site.
Don't miss the childhood home of the most famous Hoosier: President Abraham Lincoln. At the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial , step onto the soil where Lincoln spent 14 formative years. Begin at the Memorial Visitor Center, where a museum recounts Lincoln's life, accomplishments and time in Indiana, then take the trail past the grave of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the president's mother. At the end of the trail, you'll find the Lincoln Living Historical Farm, a re-created pioneer farmstead with all the trappings Lincoln would have experienced, including field crops, farm animals and split rail fences. Pet the animals and watch reenactors perform farm chores of the 1820s. Explore the homestead while searching for more than 42 species of birds reportedly seen on the grounds.
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