Beach exercise

Beach exercise

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ohio State Reformatory



















After leaving Frankfort, KY, we spent a hectic five days in Dayton, OH looking for a rental house for our daughter Katie, who will be spending three years there getting her Doctorate. We now have a good feel for the house rental market there.

Then we headed north to Mansfield, Oh for the summer state rally of the Winnebago owners club. It was great to get together with our friends from the club. One of the highlights of the rally was a tour of the Ohio State reformatory. This proved to be a very interesting place. Built in the late 1800’s to provide humane and inspirational control of underage nonviolent offenders, it was a model for other such facilities around the country. The original building was so well designed and built that on the second floor the morning sun will shine thru two windows on the west side of the building and just miss the door jams and make a X of light in the center hall way.

The front portion of the building contained the living quarters of the warden and guards. It also contained a luxury suite that housed dignitaries including the Governor and other celebrities.

After serving as a reformatory for a number of years, it then continued as a state prison until 1990. The first prisoners were used to complete the prison cell houses. The first were made of brick and iron and the east and larger wing was built of free standing steel cells, six tiers high. The east wing, while occupying the same foot print as the older west wing held three times as many prisoners. This steel prison remains the largest free standing prison in the world.

When the prison closed, the state intended to demolish the structure. A conservancy group stepped in and prevented the destruction of the building. Unfortunately, there is no funding for restoration and it remains in poor condition. Fortunately tours are still conducted and everyone is warned about the existence of asbestos and lead paint that may be found almost everywhere.

The north section of the original compound is off limits, as a new high security prison remains on site where the exercise and recreation area was previously.

This place is more famous than I would have suspected, as it has been used in numerous movies including Air Force One, Tango and Cash and the Shawshank Redemption. There are still many remnants from these films still visible. The car wash from the Shawshank Redemption along with many of the rooms and cells used, which are marked and have pictures of how they looked during the movies. From Air Force one, the gate and courtyard where the general was released to board the helicopter along with a number of the movie props.

Our guide was very informative and funny. This site is worth going out of your way to visit.

13 comments:

Happytrails said...

Nice tour of the reformatory!! Hope you enjoy your rally!!

Gail and Rick (Gypsy Turtles) said...

You got some great pictures of that reformatory. Interesting about the movies made there... Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorites.

Kathy and Robert said...

Thanks for the tour!

Sue and Doug said...

hope you enjoy the rally!..another great tour from you!

Rick and Paulette said...

Scary looking place! Thanks for the tour and pics though, it was very interesting.

E Squared and Mui said...

Nice to go to jail, knowing you can leave anytime you want:-))) In some ways it reminds me of the prison-turned-museum in Ushuaia, Argentina.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

Those cells are quite comfortable looking. I shared less space with more people on a cutter during one tour. The bulkheads looks about that pretty, too.

You find some really "fun" places to visit! ;c)

Barry and Linda said...

Great post! I love visitin' places like this. Last year we visited the Trans Allegheny Insane Asylum in Weston, WV. Quite interestin'!

Kevin and Ruth said...

Very interesting. We really enjoyed the movie, Shawshank Redemption. I will have to mark this one down for places to see if we are in that area. Thank you.

Kevin and Ruth
www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

Bob and Jo said...

We have added this to our list.

John and Carol said...

Great tour! Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies. Great pictures...thanks!

Margie and Roger said...

What an interesting place! The only jail I've visited was the Mayberry jail of Andy and Barney. Sounds like a great rally. Life is good.

Anonymous said...

Was there in 1976 sure was a bad filling when i went back.It was not a good place to be.