Where We Live
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It was a sparkling stream winding through the wooded hills of southeast Indiana that first captivated artists back in the nineteenth century. The painters J. Ottis Adams and T.C. Steele, traveling on horseback in 1897, spotted a cabin a few miles outside of Brookville, on the banks of the Whitewater River. The artists and their wives bought the property and gave it a name -- The Hermitage.
Adams and Steele remodeled and expanded the cabin, adding wings for their studios, and a columned veranda across the front. They incorporated artistic elements, too. Adams designed the library windows as a gift for his wife. When she raised the windows, she saw that patterns in the leaded glass resembled hearts. Sweet.
Two years later, Steele was a widower and had moved to a studio in Brown County. Ottis and Winifred Adams began hosting exhibitions and offering art classes and lodging at the Hermitage. They planted a beautiful garden, filled with poppies that Adams captured in his paintings.
For the next 30 years, The Hermitage and its idyllic surroundings on the banks of the Whitewater River served as a retreat and inspiration for artists.
The landscape has changed since Adams and Steele arrived on horseback, but The Hermitage and its artful interior remain practically unchanged from a century ago. It’s a bed-and-breakfast now, where guests find furnishings and even personal effects of Hoosier Group artists. Visitors see the original guest book in the foyer, oil paintings still in progress, and vintage magazines spread open on library tables.
Indianapolis Museum of Art catalog
J. Ottis Adams
The Hermitage Bed & Breakfast
Indiana Landmarks | 1201 Central Avenue | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | 800-450-4534 | 317-639-4534 | Fax 317-639-6734