Old MacDonald’s Farm


I often find myself idly surfing the net and making discoveries of something from my past. Recently, I became reacquainted with Old Macdonald’s Farm, a place in Norwalk, CT that I loved to visit when I was very young.  Before being closed and replaced by a corporate office park, Old Macdonald’s Farm had:

  • an old-fashioned country-style restaurant that looked like it was in a barn with the booths decorated as stables (complete with the names of horses on plaques over the booths)
  • a candy store with lots of different types of penny-candy including every imaginable flavor of candy sticks.
  • a petting zoo with goats, sheep, cows and other farm animals.
  • a small amusement park with a train ride and other rides that appealed to small children

When it closed, I was heart-broken, especially since a covered wooden bridge was preserved to connect the very modern office park to its parking lot.  My younger self cursed the corporate suits who destroyed this little bit of Americana every time I passed and saw that bridge.  Okay, maybe not, but it was some similar emotion.

There’s not about Old Macdonald’s Farm on the web, but I found a couple of photos.  I was awestruck by how the photos look just as I remember.  The first picture is of the restaurant from a website called Cardcow which collects old postcards.

Vintage Postcards from Cardcow.com
Wow! The pot-belly stove, the rafters, the farm implements, the barrels, the checkered table cloths -- all just as I remember!


Cardcow.com

The next picture is from a photo blog called Serendipitous by a woman named Kathy Chiapetta.  The photos appear to be scanned from a 2005 Darien Times article which is not available online.  The one thing I don’t see in any of the photos is a big waterwheel that impressed me as a child.

This picture looks like it was taken well before I was born, but otherwise it's pretty much how I remembered it. I was convinced that these stalls were actually once used by horses.

Thanks for indulging me. If you have memories and pictures of Old Macdonald’s Farm please let me know.
Previous Trips Down Memory Lane:

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18 thoughts on “Old MacDonald’s Farm

  1. Since this blog is an internet powerhouse it is now the 3rd highest ranked result on Google for the search terms: “Old MacDonald’s Farm” Norwalk. The two sites I linked are #1 and #2.

    The fourth ranked site may be the best of all because it contains a video showing the history of Old MacDonald’s Farm from the Fifties to the Seventies! Oddly enough it comes from a website for a New Hampshire campground with little context for why the video is there.

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  2. I remember Old MacDonald’s Farm very well–I spent some very nice times there with my family when I was a kid and my mother arranged two birthday parties for me there. I just recently began scanning my old photos and I have a small set from Old MacDonald’s Farm here:

    Oct. 22, 1966- Valerie - 10th Birthday

    I htink there are more and when I get to them, I will add them as well. I ope you don’tmind, but I linked to this post in the Flick’r set.

    Thanks for the post and the pictures: I had totally forgotten how the booths had the names of horses over them as though they were stalls!

    Regards,
    Val Anderson

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  3. Yes, yes, me too, clap my hands! As a child I loved that waterwheel and the train. Do you remember the bumper cars to ?. Am into trains as an adult and when 2-9 or so, trips to OMF was purest joy for me. I keep the memories alive even today in my heart. Darn SUITS RUIN THE BEST THINGS …

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  4. Oh my gosh!!! I just took a spectacular ride down memory lane!! I’m 46, live in Old Greenwich and was just telling my kids about Old Macdonald Farm & showed them the covered bridge.
    I wish there were more photos!
    Thank you for taking the time to share those!
    David

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  5. I am now 49, I had been searching for years for the location of this park which I visited with my mother as a kid in 1966, but thanks to the internet there is plenty of info.
    I have old footage from an 8mm film and a b&w photo. I loved the miniature train ride.
    Many years later I relived that experience out in Greenport Long Island where there is
    a miniature train ride. For those who want to revisit their childhood bring yourself and your kids to the Peconic County Miniature Train Ride.

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  6. I remember getting fizzie candies at the candy store and I want to say there was a very small train you could ride on as well as boats (swans?) that you would peddle. I’m also pretty certain there was a golf course adjacent to the farm and I would always find a few stray balls near the fence.

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  7. What a great childhood memory. I would love to go there. The penny candy store & the old fashion cars.l remember a bear in s round cage.I do have pics

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  8. We loved Old Macdonald’s Farm, too. I think I only went to the petting zoo once, but we went to the restaurant and shops many times. We loved to eat in the downstairs in the straight stalls. I think I remember a “Queenie” straight stall and the “Fllcka” and “Black Beauty” box stalls. We never had enough people to eat in one of those. I loved the General Store and penny candy, too. Remember the wonderful nickelodeon? i loved to watch it play. The bakery had wonderful doughnuts and lunch. Oh, to have it back again!

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  9. i enjoyed all the pictures it
    ‘s just as i remember it i would have loved to have taken my daughter there, but it was already gone thanks so much for the wonderful memories

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  10. The only thing I remember about Old MacDonald’s Farm is the Hay Ride. I loved it, especially when it went through a shallow, rocky stream. But that’s really all I remember. This was probably about 1965-66. Thanks for the photos!

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  11. old mcdonald’s farm has a very special place in my heart and every summer i get very nostalgic thinking about it – i told my daughter about it many times, but she was born in 1994, so it was already gone. Thank you for the wonderful pictures and all the great comments. They bring back very happy memories.

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