Malabar Farm: A Getaway for Classic Movie Stars of the 40’s

Even though I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like, I love to travel, and as I mentioned in my recent tribute to Jimmy Stewart regarding the Jimmy Stewart Museum, there are several classic movie related places I’d love to visit someday.

I just found another one to add to my ever growing list, Malabar Farm in Ohio. If you are a big fan of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, you just may be interested in visiting, too.

I learned about Malabar Farm when I found an interesting article regarding a fundraiser called “Hollywood Returns to Malabar” which was held there last month. Stephen Bogart and Tyrone Power, Jr. who both have ties to Malabar Farm through their famous movie star fathers, attended the fundraiser to help preserve what is known as the “Big House” located at Malabar Farm State Park in Lucas, Ohio.

Built in 1938 by Pulitzer Prize winning author Louis Bromfield, Malabar Farm was a place many Hollywood stars of the 1940’s went to get away from the big cities and to relax and enjoy nature. Tyrone Power (who starred in the movie The Rains Came based on a novel by Bromfield), James Cagney, Kay Francis, George Burns, and Gracie Allen were just a few of the stars who stayed at the farm.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall Wed at Malabar Farm

Humphrey Bogart, who enjoyed writing and was friends with many authors, became good friends with Louis Bromfield after meeting him in a bar after a play. When he became engaged to actress Lauren Bacall, Bogart wanted to have a simple wedding in a quiet location, so not only did he ask Louis Bromfield if they could marry at Malabar Farm, he also asked him to be his best man.

Bromfield agreed, and in 1945, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married there in an intimate ceremony. You can see very special footage from their wedding in this video which also shows the visit made by Stephen Bogart and Tyrone Power, Jr.

Tours of The Big House

The Big House that I mentioned above was a 32-room country home where Louis Bromfield and his wife threw parties and entertained their celebrity guests. It has been preserved just as Bromfield left it when he died in 1956, and if you visit Malabar Farm State Park, you can take a tour of the house.

Tours include walk-throughs of the study where Bromfield wrote two of his most well known novels and the bridal suite where Bogart and Bacall spent the night after their wedding. You can also view Bromfield’s vast collection of photographs of classic Hollywood movie stars.

Given that Malabar Farm State Park is only about a two hour drive from another place on my wish list, the Clark Gable Birth Home & Museum (along with its bed and breakfast), I just might need to start planning a trip to the state of Ohio soon to visit both places! :-)

Are there any classic movie related places you’d like to visit?


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  1. Karen says:

    Enjoyed your write-up, Ginny — and congratulations on your acceptance in the Classic Movie Blog Association! 😮 ) I would love to visit Malabar Farm — and Clark Gable’s museum! I go to Kentucky every summer — I will have to see how far these are. Maybe a side trip is in order!

  2. Ginny says:

    Thanks Karen! I’m happy to be part of the group with so many other great bloggers. That would be cool if you could make it to Ohio on one of your Kentucky trips. If you get there before I do, you’ll have to let me know how it is. :-)

  3. Kristen says:

    You just gave me a new place to add to my list! I really need to come into a fortune to just travel to film locations!

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