The 10 Most Interesting Abandoned Prisons of America

Photo by KLiK Photography at Shutterstock

Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield

Time of Operation: 1886 to 1990
Built in 1886, this was an efficient institution with its own power plant and working farm. The Reformatory produced goods in its workshops for other state institutions and provided opportunities for inmates to learn trades. It was specifically for young male offenders, concentrating on hard work and education.

It became a maximum-security facility in 1946, housing all types of criminals. Considered substandard by the 1970s, the Ohio State Reformatory closed in 1990. This place is now listed on the national register of historic places and offers guided tours. The East Cell Block is still known as the largest free-standing steel cell block in the world.

Five major motion pictures have been filmed here, including “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Air Force One.” Restoration of the prison is ongoing, but much of the structure is in a state of decay.

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