Scenic USA - Ohio

Malabar Farm

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Louis Bromfield's Big House - Malabar Farm State Park, Lucas, Ohio

Photos and article by Monnie Ryan
Monnie Ryan Photography

     In the late 1930s, Pulitzer Prize-winning Barn - Malabar Farm State Park - Lucas, Ohio author and conservationist Louis Bromfield built a 32-room home on his farm near Lucas, Ohio, in Richland County. The house, farm and a number of outbuildings remain in operation today as a working farm, complete with animals and crops. The property, designated an Ohio Historic Landmark, operates as a state park that's open to the public. When Bromfield lived here, the popular writer reportedly entertained a number of celebrity friends including Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, James Cagney and Dorothy Lamour. On May 21, 1945, Bromfield's Big House was the setting of the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall wedding.
     The property includes several ponds stocked with bluegill and catfish, three easy one-mile hiking trails and a bridle trail. Draft Horses - Malabar Farm State Park - Lucas, Ohio Visitors may take wagon tours of the farm from May through October, and nature programs are offered at the visitor center throughout the year. Hearty visitors enjoy wintertime activities here at the park, which include sledding, ice skating and cross-country skiing. The farm's rolling hills, Long Eared Goat - Malabar Farm State Park - Lucas, Ohio pushed up by ancient glaciers, are covered in forests of beech, maple and eastern hemlock.
     Outbuildings and exhibits include a large barn, a small smokehouse and Bromfield's Jeep, made by the Willys Overland Jeep Company of Toledo. This versatile Jeep, gaining fame during WWII, was developed as a universal vehicle for farm use after 1945. The main barn, the largest building at the complex, features a colorful mural on the door, and a number of vintage farm implements are on display. Built on a hill, a lower level offers shelter to a variety of farm animals such as cows, goats and chickens.

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