'Shawshank' prison set for major tourist renovation
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'Shawshank' prison set for major tourist renovation

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The former prison used in the 1994 Oscar-nominated classic The Shawshank Redemption is going to be opened as an all-year round attraction after being earmarked for major renovation.

Originally built in 1886, the Ohio State Reformatory drew 80,000 visitors in the last year as the site celebrated the build up to the film’s 20th anniversary. Originally operating as a prison until 1990, the facility fell into disrepair and was on the brink of being demolished before being purchased in 1994 by the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society for the princely sum of US$1 (€0.77, £0.61).

The prison-turned-visitor attraction will undergo a renovation over the next six months in an attempt to encourage more Shawshank fans to visit throughout the year, with plans to clean, decorate, replace the huge cathedral windows and supply heating to the former prison so that it will be weatherproof for tourists. The society has raised US$2m (€1.5m, £1.2m) to make repairs to the roof and it is also planning to open up additional areas to the public once the renovation is complete.

At present, a “Shawshank” tour is on offer where visitors can take a self-guided tour around the prison and its grounds, taking in some of the movie’s key locations. During its bumper year celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Shawshank Redemption, the Ohio State Reformatory generated around US$10m (€7.7m, £6.2m) in revenue.

Despite being ranked number one on IMDB’s user-generated top 250 movies list, The Shawshank Redemption was a flop at the box office, only becoming popular with movie-goers upon its home release. It was one of the most rented films of 1995 and broke record viewing numbers during television airings of the film.

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The former prison used in the 1994 Oscar-nominated classic The Shawshank Redemption is is going to be opened as an all-year round attraction after being earmarked for major renovation.
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