Malabar Farm State Park
Lucas, Ohio 44843
NATURE OF THE AREA
The natural features of Malabar Farm are representative of the diversity of the glaciated Appalachian Plateau region of Ohio. This area is renowned for its interspersion of woodlands, lakes, streams and bogs along with villages, fertile valleys, dairy and grain farms. Located in the Pleasant Valley of Richland County, Malabar's forests and fields offer visitors a glimpse of both the cultural and natural history of the area. The rolling countryside and fertile farmlands of Malabar recreate the pleasure of life on the farm while the wooded ridgetops support an abundance of natural wonders.
Glaciers pushed up and over the hills of the area depositing rich soils in the valleys. The woodlands are diverse with beautiful stands of beech and maple along with remnant stands of eastern hemlock in the ravines. Sandstone outcroppings adorn the slopes covered with ferns and mosses. Trillium, spring beauties and wild blue phlox carpet the forest floor. The woodlands are home to the wood thrush, barred owl, fox squirrel and raccoon while the fields support populations of bluebird, red-winged blackbird, cottontail rabbit and red fox.
HISTORY OF THE AREA
In the rolling countryside of Richland County, Louis Bromfield, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and dedicated conservationist, created his dream -- Malabar Farm. Inspired by his love of the land, Bromfield restored the rich fertility of the farmlands and preserved the beauty of the woodlands. He built a 32-room country home, where his family, friends and neighbors could share the pleasure of life on the farm.
In his book, Pleasant Valley, Bromfield wrote, "Every inch of it (the house) has been in hard use since it was built and will, I hope go on being used in the same fashion so long as it stands. Perhaps one day it will belong to the state together with the hills, valleys and woods of Malabar Farm." Bromfield's prophecy came true in August 1972, when the state of Ohio accepted the deed to Malabar Farm. The state pledged to preserve the beauty and ecological value of the farm.
Earlier that year, Bromfield's legacy to future generations came close to being extinguished. Malabar Farm, owned and operated by the Louis Bromfield Malabar Farm Foundation for 14 years, was threatened with foreclosure. But the Noble Foundation, which held the mortgage, agreed to erase the mortgage and accrued interest -- about $280,000 -- when the state of Ohio accepted Malabar Farm as a gift to the people of Ohio.
From 1972 to 1976, Malabar Farm was operated jointly by Ohio's Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture. Then in 1976, Malabar became one of Ohio's state parks. As a park, Malabar Farm is dedicated to perpetuating Bromfield's farming philosophies, preserving the Big House and its many artifacts, and providing a place where visitors can explore life on a farm and the beauty of nature.