MANSFIELD, Ohio — A large oak tree that played a key role near the end of the film “The Shawshank Redemption” was heavily damaged during a storm last week.
The 1994 movie, based on a short novel by Stephen King, was filmed in and around the former Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield in north-central Ohio. The tree is where Morgan Freeman’s character finds money and a note left by Tim Robbins’ character.
The tree was hit Friday by straight-line winds that split it down its rotted middle and took out one side, Malabar Farm State Park manager Louis Andres told the News Journal of Mansfield.
The tree near the state park is popular with tourists and is part of the local convention and visitors bureau’s “Shawshank Trail” that also includes the former reformatory that closed in 1990 and is now a museum. The trail leads travelers to 12 sites where the movie was filmed.
The fictional setting of both the story and film is Maine.
Lee Tasseff, president of the Mansfield-Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, called the damage to the tree “tragic.”
“It’s a very sentimental part of the trail,” he said.
Trail travelers can look to the left just past the state park entrance and see the site where Freeman’s character walked along a hayfield and removed stones from a rock wall where the money was buried. The movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including best actor for Freeman and best picture.
“There’s all kinds of people who have taken pictures at the tree,” Tasseff said.
He said some people had asked if they could propose under the tree or have a picnic under it, but that isn’t allowed because the tree is on private farmland.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the damaged tree would have to be cut down, the News Journal reported.