House of the Singing Winds - Atlas Obscura

Every year, tourists from across the Midwest flock to Brown County for its natural beauty and historic, artsy feel, especially in the fall. This landscape has drawn artists from around the country, and in the early 20th century it became home to a collective of painters known as the Hoosier Group.

One of the most famous and successful members of the group was Theodore Clement Steele, who moved to the area in 1907. Drawn by its seclusion and stunning beauty, Steele and his wife constructed a seasonal home and garden on a hilltop south of Nashville and named it the House of the Singing Winds. A studio was also built, but since Steele preferred to paint en plein air, it acted more as a showroom for his work.

Steele’s years in Brown County became some of his most prolific, and his impressionist paintings became incredibly popular with art aficionados. His work appeared at the 1910 International Exhibit of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires and the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, as well as private collections around the world.

Steele spent his final years as an artist in residence at nearby Indiana University and could often be found on campus painting scenes of the limestone buildings and campus river. He died in 1926, and his ashes are interred in a small family plot behind his beloved wilderness retreat. His paintings can currently be found all across the state of Indiana, as well as in Los Angeles, California, and Lynchburg, Virginia.

Today, the House of the Singing Winds, also known as T.C. Steele State Historic Site, is operated by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites museum system. Visitors can tour the house and studio, walk the gardens and wooded paths, and attend public arts events held throughout the spring and summer. The House of the Singing Winds is a true hidden gem and a tribute to one of Indiana’s most beloved artists.

Know Before You Go

The site is open all year, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Spring and fall are the best times to visit, when the gardens are in bloom or the trees are turning.

The grounds are free to visit, but the house and studio can only be seen on guided tours at 10:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m., and 3:15 p.m. ($10 tickets)

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February 22, 2024

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