Malabar springhouse 1955

The springhouse at Malabar Farm State Park is found on Pleasant Valley Road, up behind the produce stand at Malabar Inn.

When Louis Bromfield launched his Malabar Farm project in 1939 and acquired the Neiman farm as part of his acreage, the springhouse at Neiman’s had already been standing for many years.

Then & Now: The springhouse at Malabar Farm 1955

Built originally as an early form of refrigeration, the springhouse has sandstone troughs where the streaming spring is channeled, and bottles of milk, butter, and other perishables could be kept cold in the chilly water. Bromfield wrote of eating grapes as a child that had been specially chilled in the troughs of the springhouse.

The waters of the spring emerge from the earth through the sandstone cliff immediately behind the springhouse. For many years the water ran right over the open ground through a small marsh on the hillside above the produce stand, but today it is all piped underground.

The springhouse structure was rebuilt on its original foundation in a recent State-funded renovation, so its appearance is somewhat different than in Bromfield’s day; but the spring water still has the timeless quality of endless sweet providence it has given since the earliest days of Pleasant Valley.

The springhouse in 2017

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Timothy Brian McKee is a featured columnist on our site every Saturday with a column titled Native SonEvery Tuesday, he taps into his knowledge and collection of historical photos and bring us Then & Now, a brief glance at the way things were.

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