The grand tallgrass prairie once covered most of northwest Indiana's silt loam soils. These "black soil prairies" were extremely fertile and almost all of these prairies succumbed to agriculture. Fortunately all is not lost. The German Methodist Cemetery preserve is the finest black soil prairie remnant in not only the state, but in all of the Midwest. It is also one of the most diverse sites in the state with over 200 species of native plants in it's less than 3 acres.
State Nature Preserve, 1981
The Nature Conservancy
The Conservancy was able to acquire the rare prairie after Indiana's Division of Nature Preserves was not able to obtain rights to the area. Unfortunately half the prairie was plowed for future burial use before the cemetery board agreed to trade the prairie for adjacent farmland offered for sale by a sympathetic neighbor. After being dedicated as a state nature preserve, the prairie is now protected for future generations. A buffer strip around the prairie was also acquired and a fence installed for further protection. Periodical prescribed burns also take place to keep the prairie in a healthy, natural condition.
It is one of the state’s most diverse sites, with over 200 species of native prairie plants, including the state-threatened cream wild indigo and the rare white upland aster. Spring, summer and fall offer fabulous displays of wildflowers and prairie plants. White and pink shooting star carper the tract in the spring. The yellow flowers of prairie dock and compass plant reach high in the summer sky, and in the autumn the translucent straw-colored grasses are a beautiful backdrop for purple asters, yellow sunflowers and blue gentians. The dominant grass is prairie dropseed, which is indicative of virgin conditions.
The prairie portion of the German Methodist Cemetery has never been used for burials, so there are no tombstones. Please do make sure to take care when walking through the prairie as it is home to hundreds of important native plants.
From the intersection of I - 65 and S.R. 2 (exit 240), travel east on S.R. 2 through Lowell and continue to the intersection with U.S. 41. Turn right (north) on U.S. 41 and travel approximately 3 miles to the German Methodist cemetery of the right hand side of the road. The preserve is at the end of the cemetery.