Malabar Farm, located just outside of Mansfield Ohio, was built by Pulitzer Prize winning author Louis Bromfield. A best-selling writer in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, Bromfield was also a pioneer in sustainable farming. He created one of the country's first truly organic farms at Malabar. The house was the site of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart's wedding and honeymoon as well as featured in the movie Shawshank Redemption.
Bromfield: the Man:
Louis Bromfield, born in 1896 in Mansfield Ohio, was a World War I hero and journalist before writing his first novel, The Green Bay Treein 1924. He proceeded to write 30 more novels and non-fiction works, including his Pulitzer-Prize winning Early Autumn. He was considered, at the time, in the ranks of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
Bromfield was an early and eloquent proponent of organic and self-sustaining farming. Malabar Farm was much more than a "gentleman's farm", in addition to being a working farm, the land was used as a government testing site for soil conservation.
Louis Bromfield returned to his native Mansfield in 1939 and purchased Malabar Farm, where he would live until his death in 1956. The working farm was a mecca for his Hollywood friends, including James Cagney, Shirley Temple, and Erol Flynn. The farm was the site of the 1945 wedding between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Bromfield was the best man.
The Main House:
The 32-room "Main House" is a combination of traditional Western Reserve architecture and French Provincial design elements. Designed by Bromfield with the assistance of architect, Louis Lamoreux. The house is furnished with original paintings, French antique furniture, custom wall paper, and many of Bromfield's personal belongings. The house is preserved as he left it in 1956.
Activities at Malabar Farm:
The wide variety of activities at Malabar Farm State Park include fishing, hay wagon rides, horseback riding, hiking, square dance parties, touring the farm and the "Big House", and cross-country skiing.
Visiting Malabar Farm:
Malabar Farm offers a wealth of activities for visitors to enjoy. Chief among them is the tour of the main house. During the summer months, tours are given every half hour from 10am to 4pm on Tuesdays through Sundays. The Tour is $4 for adults, $3.60 for seniors, and $2 for children 6-18 years old.
Staying at Malabar Farm:
Malabar Farm State Park offers primitive campsites and a 19-bed dormitory-style hostel onsite. Reservations for both may be made via the Malabar Farm website.
The Gift Shop and the Farm Market:
The Gift Shop at Malabar Farm stocks a full selection of works by Louis Bromfield. In addition, the shop sells locally made honey, maple syrup, fudge, and other products.
The Farm Market, is open every day from May through October from 10am to 8pm and features a wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, bird seed, and cut flowers.
Malabar Farm Restaurant:
The restaurant at Malabar Farm is located in an early 19th century brick prairie home, acquired by Bromfield in 1941. It was Bromfield's plan to create a French restaurant out of the home. When that didn't happen, he included the property in his farming plans. Today, the restaurant is open seasonally, between March and December, and serves hearty home-cooked lunches and dinners, featuring the produce and livestock of the area.
Malabar Farm State Park
4050 Bromfield Rd.
Lucas, OH 44843
(last updated 12-01-09)