If you’ve never been there, or even if you have and may not remember it, you may be thinking, what a beautiful mansion or resort hotel! Well, it did house special guests. It is the administration building at the old abandoned Mansfield Reformatory, one of Ohio’s former maximum security prisons! I don’t think they build them like that anymore!
Inside the walls however, tells a very different story!
Closed in 1990, the facility now sits as a rusting, peeling edifice of stone, steel and paint flakes. Tours are available on weekends with special emphasis on ghost tours. The facility has quite a reputation for being haunted!
The one and two person cells were very small and confining and were stacked like animal crates one on top of another for 5 and 6 stories. Solitary confinement cells had solid steel doors with only slots for passing food in and for observation.
There is a new, modern facility now built next door. It looks much different and reflects society’s different view of incarceration today.
The history of the Mansfield Reformatory includes the filming of a number of major motion pictures. Most notably, “The Shawshank Redemption” and scenes from “Air Force One”.
About an hour and a half south of Cleveland, the facility makes a fascinating subject for photographers! Beauty on the outside, something else entirely on the inside! What a contrast. They do warn however that the peeling paint contains lead and may pose a hazard.