Porter’s 150th birthday celebration this Friday

Authored by Jim Langham on Jul 31, 2013

It was Aug. 17, 1863 when Geneva Grace Stratton was born in Wabash County near Lagro, the last of 12 children. Little did her parents (her father was a minister) realize at the time that they named their child that it would become a name of destiny as she trudged the swamps and wrote the stories of the Limberlost Swamp near Geneva
This Friday evening, one week prior to a formal gala in Porter’s honor held at the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne on Aug. 9, the Limberlost State Historic site will be the center of celebration of Porter’s 150th birthday.
“We have an event planned for Friday evening which people in our area will enjoy attending,” commented Randy Lehman, director of the local state historic site. “It’s called, ‘Geneva’s Geneva,’ because Gene Stratton-Porter’s full first name was Geneva, and her Limberlost Cabin is located in Geneva.
“This event is all about the time period, 1888-1913 (the time Geneva lived in Geneva,” added Lehman.
Porter had married Charles Porter, who became a popular and influential businessman in Geneva at the time.
Those attending will have the opportunity to participate in parlor games that were popular during this period and walk a timeline that highlights significant local and national events that happened during the 24 years Gene lived in Geneva.
In addition, there will be the opportunity to sample wines from many different Indiana wineries, enjoy a selection of refreshments, enjoy live period music and get special deals on books by Gene Stratton-Porter.
Lehman said that reservations are encouraged, but not required. The cost is $15 at the door of the Limberlost Visitor’s Center.
Lehman said that those attending the event must be 21-years of age or older.
“Dress is casual, but you are welcome to dress in period clothing,” said Lehman. “Many of the staff and volunteers will be dressed for the time period.”
In a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting, Geneva Chamber director Pam Krause took the opportunity to announce that through Porter’s influence, Geneva is about to become the first “bird-town” in Indiana.
“This is the year of Gene (Stratton-Porter) in Geneva,” said the Chamber director. “Now the community is also going to be recognized for its conservation eco-tourism. A combination of restoration of wetlands, bird habitat and bringing back species not here for a long time is gaining this town recognition.”
“A lot of people thought years ago that Gene would someday be long forgotten. Instead, it seems like she is becoming more popular,” said Lehman.
One week after the Geneva celebration, there will be a special showing of the movie, “Laddie,” based on Porter’s book which reveals many insights into her childhood. The cost to just the movie which will be held at the historic Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne is $10.
However, there will be a black tie reception prior to the film showing. Those present for that will have the opportunity to meet some of Porter’s ancestral heritage.
The gala will last from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The cost of $75 for the total package will also include the viewing of, “Laddie.”

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