Explore History & Haunting at the Ohio State Reformatory


The cornerstone laid on November 4, 1886 evolved into this magnificent Chateauesque structure. Cleveland architect Levi T. Scofield designed the Ohio State Reformatory using a combination of three architectural styles; Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne. This was done to encourage inmates back to a "rebirth" of their spiritual lives. The architecture itself inspired them to turn away from their sinful lifestyle, and toward repentance

The Reformatory doors were opened to its first 150 young offenders in September 1896. After housing over 155,000 men in its lifetime, the doors to the prison closed December 31, 1990.

Today the Ohio State Reformatory Historic Site receives visitors from all over the world. Every year tourists, movie buffs, thrill seekers and paranormal investigators walk through the halls of this majestic structure.

"Fear can hold you prisoner.
 Hope can set you free."

- Shawshank Redemption

Amnesty for Artifacts



Have an item or story related to the Ohio State Reformatory? We’d like to hear about it! 


Visit the Ohio State Reformatory with your class.  We provide an educational curriculum and activities.

Ghost Walks & Hunts

Hear the stories of murder and death that cause many to believe the prison is haunted. Stay overnight to experience it for yourself.

pARANORMAL PENITENTIARY   Visit the during the Halloween season for a frightening experience with a thrilling haunted house.

Business & Event Rentals
Rent our beautifully renovated historic Central Guard Room for a business conference or event.  

All proceeds from gift shop purchases  directly benefit the ongoing restoration and preservation of the Ohio State Reformatory.