Malabar Farm in Pleasant Valley was the dream of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Louis Bromfield. Today, visitors can see the house and farm existing just as they did in Bromfield's time. The outbuildings and pastures still house chickens, goats and beef cattle. The hills are ribboned with strips of corn, wheat, oats and hay while the scenic trails are adorned with nature's bounty.
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.
On April 4, 1993 the main barn tragically burned to the ground. Through volunteers of the Timber Framers Guild of North America, a new barn was raised in September 1994. Although modified for modern building standards, the new structure used the same traditional construction methods perfected by the colonists.
15 primitive sites (no electric, no water)
Fire rings, picnic tables, drinking water and latrines are offered
Pets are permitted on all sites
Equestrian camping is available
Good catches of bluegill and catfish can be caught from the farm ponds at Malabar. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
Several picnic area with tables, grills, drinking water and latrines are available.
Three hiking trails traverse the park:
Doris Duke Woods Trail - 1 Mile - Easy
Jungle Brook Trail - .7 Mile - Easy
Butternut Trail - .83 Mile - Easy
Bridle Trail (Hiking permitted)
Pleasant Valley Bridle Trail - 7 Mile
Under the proper conditions, park guests can enjoy sledding, ice skating, and cross-country skiing.