Northeast Indiana's landscape is characterized
by a wide variety of lakes
and by the effects of both agricultural clearing and
the sprawl of the burgeoning city, Fort Wayne. The
second largest city in the state, Fort Wayne was established
as a military fort in the late 1700s by Col. Anthony
Wayne. It grew rapidly in the 1830s, from 300 to 1,500
residents. By 1850, more than 4,000 people lived there.
This region was
home—in several locations—to author Gene
Stratton-Porter. Born and raised in Wabash County, Stratton-Porter
put the Limberlost
on the map during the time that she and her husband lived
in Geneva, in the southeast corner of the region. When destruction
of the swamp began, they moved to Rome City, a small town
on Sylvan Lake much farther north.
Before white settlements appeared here, the region
was divided almost equally among two landscapes: in one half,
of endless variety in combination with forest,
and oak savanna; in the other half, till plain that spilled
over from the middle third of the state. (Till is a mixture
of sand, gravel, and clay left over from glaciers.) One other
small pocket, on the eastern border, was originally part of
the Great Black Swamp that covered much of northwest Ohio.