Theodore Clement Steele (1847-1926) was a noted Indiana landscape and portrait painter and member of the Hoosier Group of Impressionists. He was inspired by the picturesque scenes he encountered in Brown County , so much so, that T. C. and wife, Selma Neubacher Steele, purchased an abandoned farm there. Along with a large home, the Steeles constructed a main studio, two remote studios, and Selma Steele created orchards, flower and vegetable gardens, and using the hillsides for her canvas, painted swaths of color from masses of daffodils, irises, peonies, and other blooming plants.
There are five official hiking trails at T. C. Steele through this 211-acre site, and though none of them is more than a mile in length, they lead one through the key locations where the painter himself walked, and present vistas or scenes similar to what the artist saw while he lived here, from 1907 until his death in 1926. Selma Steele continued as a resident until her own death in 1945, after which she left the property to the state of Indiana.
Trails include: Wildflower Trail, ½ mile, moderate;
Trail of Silences, ½ mile, moderate;
Whippoorwill Haunt Trail, ¾ mile, moderate;
Peckerwood Trail, ½ mile, difficult;
Inspiration Ridge Trail, ¼ mile, easy.
The Whippoorwill Haunt Trail leads through what is now a 92-acre State Nature Preserve. Guided tours are available of the separate studio and home-called the House of the Singing Winds-as well as the grounds. There are changing exhibits of Steele’s and others’ works.
In addition, a number of varied events throughout the year take place at T. C. Steele. The Wildflower Foray in early spring; Festival of Flowers PaintOut; a National Trails Day free guided tour; Sunday at Home series includes music, watermelon, and ice cream social; Camp Steele for grades 4-7; Ghost Tours; Steele’s Country Christmas. If that’s not enough, one can also find photography for kids, art workshops in various media, cooking class and poetry readings. For more information, please visit Indiana State Museum
. Brown County State Park , Nashville , Indiana , and Lake Monroe are all nearby.
T. C. Steele State Historic Site is located west of I-65, exit 68, via Indiana 46. Go past Nashville and the state park entry. T. C. Steele Road turns left, or south off of SR 46.