Friday, August 30, 2013

The Shawshank Redemption 20th Anniversary

The Ohio State Reformatory, built in 1886, in Mansfield is one of the most majestic buildings in all of Ohio, resembling a Transylvanian castle soaring high into the sky. Once a progressive prison, conditions worsened over the years, so much so that it finally shut its doors in 1990. Many say paranormal activity runs rampant at the prison, as improperly treated and abused inmates who died in the jail (which amount to over 200 people) continue to haunt visitors (that is, if you believe in that kind of thing).
Mansfield5Today, people come from near and far to tour the abandoned prison in all of its decaying glory. Guided tours are given by the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society where you can travel all areas of the prison and even sit in one of the cells. The tours are from $7 to $9 It is absolutely amazing to see the balance between deterioration and preservation. It's also remarkable to see the East Cell Block, which remains the largest freestanding steel cellblock in the world at six tiers high (pictured left).
Some may recognize the The Mansfield Reformatory from the silver screen, as it became famous worldwide after the release of the 1994 blockbuster hit "The Shawshank Redemption." Most exterior and interior shots for this movie were filmed on site, and some of the iconic props from the cinematic classic can also be seen in person at the prison! Some points of interest are the warden's office, the Rita Hayworth poster, and, of course, the infamous cells the characters lived their lives.
This year, “The Shawshank Redemption” is celebrating its 20th anniversary of the year it was filmed in Mansfield and the surrounding area. This Labor Day weekend, celebrations are taking place at the Reformatory and other parts of the state to pay homage.
Special events and tours of the actual locations where the movie was filmed are being offered in Mansfield, Ashland and Upper Sandusky, Ohio, from August 30 to September 1. The general public is invited to join in on the fun alongside extras and crewmembers who worked on the film, and even a few of the stars of “Shawshank” including Bob Gunton, who portrayed the warden in the film. 
The Shawshank Reunion Weekend kicks off on Friday, August 30, with a number of tours and events. The Ohio State Reformatory (known as the Shawshank State Prison in the movie) will offer tours beginning at 10 AM. Tours last through the weekend here and other areas and all info can be found at
On Friday evening, the Renaissance Theatre, which hosted the premier of "The Shawshank Redemption," will offer a 7 PM special showing of the film, replicating its 1994 premier.  General admission tickets are $10/person and are available at
On Saturday, August 31 from 7-9 p.m., the main event is a Shawshank Reunion cocktail reception in the Ohio State Reformatory Central Guard Room.  Guests will enjoy live music, hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and special guided prison tours.  Tickets are $40 and space is limited.  Tickets can be purchased at

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