If you’ve ever seen the old Ohio state reformatory, also known as the Mansfield, and have been struck with a strong case of deja vu, you’re not the only one. This might be the case, if you’ve watched Shawshank Redemption, since much of the movie’s scenes were filmed at this very prison.
Built around the late 19th century, the old prison has ceased operations in 1990, leaving much of its outer walls demolished. Most of the main structure is still intact and it has an eerie Germanic-castle looming with a foreboding presence.
The main building is maintained by the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society, who also run tours of the place throughout most of the year. The old prison was purchased for only $1, but it was converted into a dark tourist attraction worth about $16 million annually. Obviously, being a Shawshank Redemption shooting set added to its worth.
Besides that, the prison also attracts a whole different crowd to its grounds. A boom in dark tourism for the place arose, due to beliefs that the site was home to the paranormal. Which, could be possible considering the number of prisoners, who have died on the prison grounds. In fact, about 200 people have died within and around the prison grounds. The list includes security guards, who were killed during numerous escape attempts, while the prison was still in operation.
If you’re not amazed by the classic architecture of the place, then you’ll definitely want to check out the reformatory for its history and dark past. There are tours all year round attracting various visitors. One of the most astounding features of the prison is the East Block, which is known till today as the world’s largest free-standing steel cell block, standing tall at six tiers.