Special to 1812Blockhouse

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) celebrated the grand reopening of Malabar Farm State Park Visitor Center’s new exhibit space with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday.

“We are proud to open this new exhibit that continues to share the dream of environmentally friendly farming started by Louis Bromfield,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “The center gives kids and their families a great place to really connect with nature and learn about the world around them—with hands-on experiences.”

The objective of the Malabar Farm State Park Visitor Center is to provide park visitors with a positive, educational, and entertaining experience while exploring the area’s unique natural and cultural history. Originally built in the early 2000s, the center has undergone a complete redesign and replacement of displays to offer an engaging and interactive experience for visitors.

Watch: Malabar Farm State Park Visitor Center Exhibit Video and Interview

These exhibits highlight the significance of healthy soil to successful farming, the relationship between wildlife and the farm environment, and Bromfield’s unconventional farming practices—including the use of a Willys Jeep as the primary horsepower on the farm.

Bromfield, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and conservationist, played a pivotal role in the history of Malabar Farm. Traveling through France during his time with the Army and later making his way through India, he was amazed at the sustainable farming methods used in other countries. Through his writing work, Bromfield purchased the land and transformed it into a model of environmentally friendly farming.

Malabar Farm was fully operational by 1942. The “Big House” was designed and constructed around a small existing farmhouse to become a 32-room home. The farm became a place of learning and a country retreat for Hollywood celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, who were married in the Big House in 1945.

The State of Ohio eventually accepted Malabar Farm as a gift to the people of Ohio, and in 1976, it was dedicated as a state park. The Big House has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973. The new exhibit hall inside the visitor center celebrates Bromfield’s legacy and showcases the methods he used to revolutionize farming practices.

For more information about Malabar Farm State Park or to schedule a tour, visit the Malabar Farm State Park webpage. The visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and admission is free.

Source: ODNR; Photo: 1812Blockhouse

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