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Shawshank prison prepares for tourists

Sept. 2: Nearly 25 years after the Ohio State Reformatory was closed as a prison, the partly-demolished building has been bringing millions of tourist dollars to the local area — and now the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society wants to make it a proper visitor destination.

Last weekend the Reformatory hosted a 1940s-themed cocktail party in the guard room as the final destination of a Shawshank Redemption 20th birthday party. The Oscar-nominated film was mostly set in the former prison and around Mansfield, and fans were treated to a bus tour of filming sites and appearances from some cast members and locals who appeared as extras.

Over $10 million was generated by 80,000 tourists visiting the Reformatory last year for ghost tours, a Halloween festival and murder mystery festival, but now the Society wants to smarten up the rest of the building to attract more Shawshank fans.

Ohio’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that for the first time in decades, parts of the building are due to be heated, cleaned and decorated. There are plans to replace the enormous windows and now that the roof has been fixed, there are hopes that the building will be water-tight and weatherproof in the next six months, making it a viable tourist destination all year round.

 
 
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