Tuesday, November 1, 2011
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. This grand structure is comprised of more than 250,000 square feet and houses the world's largest free-standing steel cell block. 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."
Since the closing of this beautiful building, stories of ghosts and hauntings have proliferated. The administration wing is believed to be haunted by the ghosts of Helen and Warden Glattke. Helen was Warden Glattke's wife and it is believed that she accidentally shot herself in the chest in the administration wing. Darker stories about her death say that Helen was shot by Glattke and he got away with it. He died ten years later in the same building. Regardless of whether or not Helen's death was accidental, reports of Helen and her husband's ghosts have filled this portion of the prison. Helen has been seen by visitors in her pink bathrobe and the scent of her perfume is said to linger in the corners and come with a cold breeze.
Other ghosts fill the old reformatory as well. Helen and Warden Glattke are not alone. The chapel is said to be one of the most haunted portions of the reformatory. The chapel is believed to have once been an execution rooms and the ghosts of those who died in this now holy place have built up like dust in an old attic. Visitors have seen many spirits wandering this lonely room and photographs are filled with orbs and specters.
The entire reformatory is filled with ghost stories. My hope is, that after I visit the prison, I will be able to write posts about each section of the prison and the hauntings in these portions. I hope I can learn more about each area's tragic history and maybe even feel a whisper of the things that haunt the reformatory. I'll have more to do in Mansfield, Ohio and more to write about, so I'm hoping this will be an eventful week filled with stories and pictures from the The Shawshank Trail.