Foundations may review our Master Plan, available upon request
The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society (MRPS) launched a major Capital Campaign in 2001. It is our goal to raise $1,500,000.00 to begin the restoration of the building. The long term cost is estimated at $15,000,000.00. Our most pressing need at this point in time is to seal the envelope of the Ohio State Reformatory Historic Site (OSR) by replacing the entire roof, restoring the windows of the whole facility, and tuckpointing the stone walls. So much more needs to be done, but without this initial step all other work will be for naught.
We have targeted the restoration of two other areas inside the site; the first two floors of the East Administration building that once housed the Superintendent of OSR and his family. We also have set a goal of restoring the Central Guard Room for two very good reasons: First to enhance the interpretation of the room historically and second to provide a rental facility for receptions, gatherings and dinner theater performances.
If you would like to lend us your support please feel free to make a tax deductible contribution to MRPS Capital Campaign and mailing it to:
100 Reformatory Road
Mansfield, OH 44905-1208
If you work for a company that has a matching gift program you can double your contribution by notifying your employer.
ALL FUNDS RAISED IN THIS CAMPAIGN WILL BE USED FOR THE STATED PURPOSE OF RESTORATION AND NOT FOR OPERATIONS, UNLESS DESIGNATED BY YOU.
We are a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization.
Many other projects and purposes exist; however, these areas must be worked on if tours are to be successful, safe, and entertaining.
For Grant Applicants:
The mission of the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society is to preserve the former Ohio State Reformatory as a national tourist attraction.
The Ohio State Reformatory is significant to the history and architecture of Richland County. Formation of the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society occurred soon after the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections vacated the prison and announced a schedule for demolition. Included in the Society are members of the Historic Preservation Commission of Mansfield, members of Richland County preservation groups, and interested citizens. The
Society has subsequently incorporated in October of 1994 and obtained a long term lease through the City of Mansfield and the State of Ohio. The preservation group also started cleaning up the building and grounds and began raising funds for building stabilization.
Construction of the Ohio State Reformatory began with the laying of the cornerstone in 1886. Designed by Cleveland architect Levi T. Scofield, the structure matches the description in McAlester's, A Field Guide To American Houses, for the Chateauesque style. This style contains an eclectic blend of Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne Styles. The architect intentionally meant the structure to be spiritual and uplifting to provide a transcendent religious experience to reform the behavior of the young male prisoners. The location of the reformatory is on 20 acres of scenic terrain. The grounds include a large pond and several ample parking areas.
Current Programs, Activities and Accomplishments
Initial uses of the building include a museum and tour facility that attracts an international patronage. During the 1998 season of operation, Sunday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., May through October, 8,000 paid admissions toured the building. Furthermore, the tours and special events attracted visitors from 50 states and dozens of foreign countries making a total paid attendance of 22,000 for 1998. The Halloween Haunted Prison opened for 5 weekends in October and drew a crowd of over 13,000 paying customers many of whom traveled to Mansfield from within a 100 mile radius. The successful MRPS gift shop sold over $21,000 of merchandise in 1998.
The Reformatory's scenic grounds and architecture serve the community in a number of ways. The 1998 United Way kick off meeting and the Heart
Association fund raiser took place at OSR. Columbia Gas and Copperweld visited OSR and held dinner meetings that included a building tour. The MRPS conducted special tours for Massilon-Jackson and Clear Fork High Schools.
Additionally, we conducted tours for other church, civic and student groups.
This year we saw an increase in the number of motor coach tours coming to OSR.
Beginning with the September 1995 official occupancy of the building, the primary goal of the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society is to accomplish the physical stabilization of the building. Many thanks to our dedicated corps of volunteers, financial donors, and the local business community who all put forth much time, effort and money in 1998 and in prior years. From 1995 through 1998 volunteers of the MRPS donated over 12,000 hours of service to the efforts of planning, cleanup and other related activities pertaining to the Reformatory.
The MRPS accomplished the following construction projects during 1998:
- Outside facing stone replaced on the north elevation
- Replacement of broken interior down spouts and repair of roof gutters
- Work is underway for a small amphitheater at the rear of the building
- Preparations began for restoration of the Warden's dining room and parlor
- Cell block stair treads replaced for tourist safety
- Persisted with trash & debris removal from cell block areas
- On-going painting of individual cells and warden's stair case
- New hard-paved parking lot completed in cooperation with Richland
- Correctional Institute (The lot is available to MRPS for special events)
- Security improvements including new latches welded to all exterior doors
- Pigeon roost in old infirmary is cleaned of years of droppings by environmental firm
- 5,000 square feet of roof replaced over the central guard room and central prison area
- Continued stabilization of exterior stone veneer
- Repair stain glass windows as part of an on-going project
- Planted and maintained large flower beds fronting the building and on the boulevard island
- Install additional exit and emergency lighting along tour route
- Re-establish electricity in parts of the diagonal wing and Warden's residence
The MRPS activities afford a hands-on civic involvement project for Mansfield
Correctional Institute inmates using prison labor for mowing, clean-up and landscaping of the grounds.