LUCAS — As tours resume at Malabar Farm State Park, visitors will be greeted by a variety of renovations that have restored the beauty of the park and its auxiliary buildings.
“It’s not just the new paint that visitors will immediately notice,” said ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft Chief Glen Cobb. “A number of buildings have been renovated inside and out, including the historic Malabar Restaurant and the park’s youth hostel.”
Closed for the past year, the 19th century Malabar Farm Restaurant’s renovations include new flooring, parking lot resurfacing, and structural improvements. After a statewide bid process, a new concessionaire has been selected to operate the restaurant, that opened last week.
No longer a youth hostel, the refurbished house is now home to the local Malabar Farm Spinning and Weaving Guild. Members will soon be providing fiber art demonstrations to park visitors using local wool from the farm’s sheep.
Other recent Malabar Farm renovation projects include:
• new roofs on multiple buildings including the Bicentennial Barn, Big House flat roofs, Hay Drying Shed, latrines, Springhouse, and multiple small outdoor buildings;
• stream bank construction along Switzer’s Creek to prevent erosion;
• treatment of aquatic invasive species at fishing ponds;
• painting most outbuildings, including refurbishing the Bicentennial Barn logo;
• refurbished flooring in the Pugh Cabin;
• new and replaced pasture fencing; and
• chicken coop renovation.
Work will begin soon to install a gate system to improve security at Mt. Jeez near the park. Located less than a mile away, Mt. Jeez offers one of the highest, and prettiest, views of Pleasant Valley. The lookout is currently only open to hikers and vehicles from dawn to dusk.
Regular guided tours of the Big House, once the home of Pulitzer prize-winning author, Louis Bromfield, now include areas newly opened for public viewing. Visitors can tour two additional bedrooms and bathrooms previously closed to the public. Other areas have been cleaned out to allow visitors to see the original uses of those areas including the kitchen, basement, and garage. Tour times have been adjusted to allow visitors additional time inside this historical home.
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