Mansfield Reformatory: Part 1

Also known as the Ohio State Reformatory, the Mansfield Reformatory is only about 30 minutes away from my parents house where I grew up.  Yet, until about a month ago I had never been.  Known primarily as the place where most of Shawshank Redemption was filmed, the reformatory was built in the 1880s and housed inmates from 1896 until 1990 when the prison closed its doors.  At the end of July Antoine and I made plans to meet up with my best friend and her boyfriend (Amanda and Aaron) to check out the reformatory.  There are a variety of tours available at the reformatory, but since we were on a limited time schedule we opted to just do the self-guided tour.  The self-guided tour is only $9 per adult, but I wish we would have had time for the audio tour which was only an additional $5.  But I have every intention of going back so I'll make sure to do it then!

Antoine and I got there about 15 minutes before the gates opened and there already a bunch of people waiting.  It was Saturday though, so I was kind of expecting that.
 Sadly I was so excited to get into the building that I didn't really take many photos of the exterior.  This one was the best I got.  Next time I'll make sure to get some better ones for sure!

The first part of the tour starts off in the offices and administration living quarters of the reformatory, which is what this post will cover).  The second half of the tour takes you to the inmate areas and cell-blocks...that'll be part two.
 Throughout the reformatory there were a tone of tiny corner rooms with tall, skinny doorways that were just big enough for a person to squeeze through.  I'm not really sure what these were for, maybe storage?  Bathrooms?  Though I didn't really see evident of plumbing in them.  In the office areas these rooms were usually circular and had windows that looked out onto the courtyards. 
 Paint is peeling everywhere.  And in many areas the flooring (wood, tile, etc.) is coming up.
 If you've seen Shawshank Redemption then this room should look's the warden's office. 
 Complete with wall safe!
And even a little movie memorabilia.
 One of said little, corner rooms. 
 Antoine posing in one of the corner rooms.
 A lot of the offices/living quarters had closets with these really cool built-in, wooden cabinets and drawers!  I wish we had these in our house! 
 You can kind of tell from this photo that these stairs (and a majority of the stairs in the building) are actually made of steel!
 The schoolroom. 
 X marks the spot.  A weird design feature to the building creates an "X" of light beams from the windows of the four neighboring rooms.  And those stairs straight-ahead lead to the chapel, which I'll start off with in part two. 
Another familiar spot for the Shawshank movie lovers...
I was surprised how much of the movie was actually filmed in the prison and not at another location or in a film studio like I would have expected.

So that's part one.  Stay tuned for part two, which might not be until next week (sorry!).  But I will have some silly outtakes from our tour to share as well, so that'll be fun!  Until then, happy Wednesday and I hope your week is going well.


  1. I'd wanted to visit here since I'd first learned about it last year, but I forgot about it - thanks for the reminder! :)

  2. I would love to check it out one day. Wow these photos are so fantastic, looks like you guys had a really great adventure.

    Little Lady Little City