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Iconic Shawshank oak tree falls

• Apr 13, 2017 at 3:53 PM

MANSFIELD — After sustaining heavy wind damage over the past several years, Richland County’s iconic Shawshank oak tree was cut down Saturday.

The tree played a key role in the dramatic conclusion of the blockbuster movie, “The Shawshank Redemption,” which has drawn visitors from around the globe to the area to experience Mansfield's Shawshank Trail.

A July 2011 storm first split the tree, which was located on private property, down the middle, taking out one side. Almost exactly five years later, a severe thunderstorm blew down the beloved oak. Despite the damage, fans of the film continued to visit Mansfield, to see the site, along with 13 other attractions along the popular Shawshank Trail. According to Destination Mansfield officials, the site of the tree will continue to be a stop on the Shawshank Trail.

Visitors are encouraged to continue to come to Mansfield, Ashland and Upper Sandusky to take the same paths that actors, film producers and directors walked while filming scenes for this timeless movie. With 15 different stops, including a new site in St. Croix, the tour starts at the historic Ohio State Reformatory and takes visitors step-by-step through the movie’s most meaningful scenes.

“While we’re saddened by the loss of the Shawshank Oak, we take pride in showcasing the remaining filming sites and invite Shawshank fans to continue to visit our celebrated Shawshank Trail,” Lee Tasseff, President of the Convention and Visitors Bureau said. “With a brand-new stop in the U.S. Virgin Islands, we are excited to continue the movie’s legacy for fans, both inside and outside our borders.”

A fan favorite, the historic Ohio State Reformatory surrounds visitors with the intriguing history of not only the movie, but of the reformatory itself. At six stories high, the reformatory houses the world’s tallest free-standing steel cellblock. Because of its remarkable history and architecture, the reformatory was selected as the set for a number of major motion pictures, national TV shows, music videos and other productions, including Air Force One, Tango & Cash, and shows on the Travel Channel, SciFi Channel and others.

After visiting the reformatory, the Trail continues to other scene settings from The Shawshank Redemption, including: The Brewer Hotel; the Portland Daily Bugle; Brooks’ Bench; the Road to Buxton; the Shawshank Wood Shop; the Trailways Bus Station, Maine National Bank; the courthouse where Andy is convicted, the pawn shop window, Red's bus ride to Fort Hancock, Texas; and the beaches of Zihuantanejo, Mexico -- all of which played major roles in The Shawshank Redemption when it was filmed in 1993, prior to its 1994 release.

Complete visitor information, including the free Shawshank Trail Drive-it-Yourself tour brochure is available at ShawshankTrail.com. Complete Mansfield Visitor information is found at DestinationMansfield.com or by calling (800) 642-8282. The Shawshank Trail is just one of a long list of truly one-of-a-kind experiences travelers find when visiting in Mansfield, Ohio. Breathtaking scenery and rural and hometown experiences, as well as hiking, biking, golf, cross-country and downhill skiing, bird watching and other outdoor adventures are among the area's many attractions.

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