Skip to main content

Restoration Updates – January 2024

Restoring Original Woodwork in the Administrative Areas


Our restoration team at the Ohio State Reformatory is always hard at work restoring areas of the quarter-million-square-foot structure. Restoring the original woodwork in the Administrative areas involves carefully removing the old varnish from all trim and wood surfaces with specialty scraping tools. These pieces are then sanded smooth and cleaned before a new layer of two-toned stain is applied. The pieces are then sealed with a polyurethane that keeps the wood stain preserved. Our restoration team does their best to keep all woodwork original, but sometimes it is necessary to replace broken pieces. When pieces need to be replaced, the restoration team will custom-mill them to match the originals.


This area of the building was originally used for the Reformatory chaplain’s living space. The chaplain had bedrooms, living space, and a kitchen and dining space on the second floor of administration. Parts of The Shawshank Redemption were also filmed in this area, including the parole board room scenes. This area has recently been reopened after restoration and is now also home to the Frank and Rae Darabont Gallery. It features pieces of movie memorabilia from The Shawshank Redemption.


Sometimes our restoration team encounters additional challenges when restoring these spaces. In the east hallway of the second-floor administration, one of the windows became severely damaged over the years. The team had to remove the framework of the window in its entirety. Thankfully, they were able to save some of the original trim, and expertly rebuilt it. The entire hallway was completed at the end of 2021.