The Ohio State Reformatory was built in Mansfield, Ohio starting in 1886. Designed by Levi Scofield, the reformatory is a combination of three different architectural styles: Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne. The prison opened its doors in 1896 to 150 inmates, but at its peak it housed 5,235. It closed permanently in 1990 and was slated for demolition before the producers of the film The Shawshank Redemption decided it would be the perfect setting for their film. I love Shawshank and remember reading the novella it’s based on long before the movie came out. It is one of the very few movies which lives up to the book it was based on in my opinion. While all of the outdoor scenes were filmed on location at the Ohio State Reformatory, many of the inside scenes, including the cell-block, were built as a set in a warehouse in Mansfield. The OSR has also been the filming location for other movies like Tango and Cash and Air Force One - the pictures of Lenin and Stalin you see below were placed for the gulag scenes in the latter. I loved visiting this prison for its actual history and for its Hollywood history. I hope you enjoy these photos from my visit.

The Warden’s Office

Red’s Parole Room