A Shawshank Redemption 1940s Retro Stay in Mansfield, OH

A New Addition to the Shawshank Redemption Scene

The Shawshank Redemption movie is the inspiration for the latest lodging in Mansfield, Ohio.  Hancock Heights is a fun retro 1940s trip to the past right across the road from the Ohio State Reformatory where the movie was filmed. I landed a night at The Retro House, a Hancock Heights property while researching two articles for Destination Mansfield. What a sweet stay

Ohio Reformatory, Mansfield Prison, site of Shawshank Redemption

The reformatory, a creepy looking beauty that combines Romanesque Revival, Victorian Gothic and Queen Anne architecture was the main location for the film The Shawshank Redemption. You know — that classic flick where Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are the main players in a story of perseverance and friendship against the odds of corruption and deceit. Closed as a prison in 1990, the historic reformatory is now a museum. It’s also the location for a splendid, haunted Halloween experience (I’ve been twice). Those interested in paranormal encounters can take in a paranormal program. In addition to Shawshank Redemption, the prison is in other films. Airforce One and Judas and the Black Messiah are two of them. 

Stay Near the Site of Shawshank Redemption

Hancock Heights, The Retro House outside, near filming of Shawshank RedemptionThe two brick row houses of Hancock Heights were used by the married guards with families. My husband and I stayed in The Retro House. The kitchen wallpaper is an attention grabber Wow! The red and greens of the intricate, splashy floral design pop.

While there, I had a zoom conference for the Midwest Travel Journalists Association. Everyone noticed the wallpaper which prompted me to show off the kitchen’s details. The refrigerator, microwave, toaster are new, but the Galanz brand makes appliances look retro. 

The radio on the kitchen counter is also a vintage lookalike. Each element picks up the color scheme of the cheery wallpaper. Salt and pepper shakers, the canister set, and the cloth dish towel under the farmhouse style kitchen sink reminds me of ones my grandparents owned. 

The Retro House Kitchen

The full kitchen is well equipped with dishes, pots, pans, quality knives, a coffee pot, tea kettle, a wine bottle opener –everything one might need for a splendid stay. There’s also a dishwasher and washer/dryer unit.

1940s Retro Theme Throughout

Along with the kitchen, the first floor has the living room and the bathroom. Like the kitchen, the living room looks period 1940s. From the wallpaper to the couch, easy chairs and side tables, one imagines what it was like for a family to gather here. Unlike the 1940s, the floor to ceiling cabinet holds a large flat screen TV and Blue-ray player for entertainment. 

The Retro House living room

A modern bathroom with walk-in shower is on the first floor also. Here there are toiletries, plenty of towels and great lighting.

Head up the fairly narrow stairs to the two bedrooms. We stayed in the larger bedroom, also with a retro feel. From the bed to the bedside tables and lamps to the dresser. All are period pieces. The original hardwood floors are beautiful, and the floral curtain pattern is another step back in time.

The Retro House bedroom, part of Hancock Heights

The Hatlan House Gives a Nod to the Shawshank Redemption

During our stay, the next door Hatlan House had yet to be finished. Outside, it’s almost identical to The Retro House. The inside is also retro to the 1940s, however, furnishings and color scheme reflect the Shawshank Redemption movie. One bedroom is designed to look like the warden’s room. The other is Andy’s room. Andy, played by Tim Robbins, was the prisoner. This is a fun, creative concept and if the inside of this house is anything like the inside of the Retro House, I imagine one would have a splendid stay.

Andy's Room Hatlan House, Shawshank Redemtion

Andy’s Room

I would definitely go here again. I loved this place. The sunset over the reformatory the night we stayed was gorgeous. If you go, be aware the houses are not handicapped accessible. There is parking for two cars in back of each house. 

Downtown Mansfield is just minutes away. Don’t miss Kingwood Gardens and Richland Carrousel Park. Also, the Ohio Bird Sanctuary is wonderful. If you have a bicycle, you can hit up county highlights on the B&O Bike Trail. 

Rates range from $199 to $259 depending on the season and the day. This is a perfect option for two couples to enjoy. Or four couples if you book both houses. There is a $25 discount per person for a daytime historical tour of the reformatory.

Book your stay through the Hancock Heights website. There is an official opening of the properties on May 20th, but you can book now.

My night was hosted by Hancock Heights for review purposes, but my opinions are my own. What a cool place.

Post by Jamie Rhein. Photos courtesy of Hancock Heights. 

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