Last of ‘Shawshank Redemption' tree cut up

Crews remove iconic Shawshank Redemption tree

LUCAS, Ohio -- The last remaining vestiges of the tall oak tree beloved by fans of "The Shawshank Redemption" was taken down Saturday by a co-owner of the field in which it stood.

Dan Dees said it was time for what was left of the damaged tree, on Pleasant Valley Road, near Malabar Farm State Park, to disappear.

His father would like to farm that land, he said.

The huge oak tree was featured in a scene in which Red (Morgan Freeman), paroled from prison, walked along a hayfield and removed stones from a rock wall where Andy (Tim Robbins) had buried money embezzled by the warden.

Watch a scene of the tree:

The big oak. located a little east of the entrance to Malabar Farm State Park, was a popular stop on the Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau's "Shawshank Trail" driving tour, which took advantage of the movie's wide popularity, encouraging tourists to visit some of the sites where "Shawshank" was filmed.

Though the field with the famous tree is privately owned, movie fans wanted to have pictures taken there.

Dan Dees said both he and his sister, Jodie Dees, have half-interests in the property, and are concerned about the liability related to people wandering onto it.

The tree had deteriorated in recent years. In July 2011, already rotted in the middle, it was damaged by high winds sweeping through southern Richland County.

A large section of the wind-sheared oak was removed and placed on display at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. The former prison, closed in 1990, had been used as a site for filming parts of "Shawshank," (released in 1994), and now is operated as a museum.

Then, last July, a southwest wind brought the rest of the tree trunk down.

Despite that damage, the oak tree "just has simply a very strong affinity and connection to it," Dees said, prior to getting a crew and heavy equipment together to cut up what remained of the oak tree.

"This is the last time they (passers-by) are ever going to see it," he said. "It's time to get it out, so that field can be utilized."

Though "some people have offered me money for it," Dees said, he hasn't made any deals to sell off any of the wood.

"I don't have any big plans for it, other than to make a table out of it, or a bench. I've got some design plans," he said.

"It would be really cool. It would b e a movie theme," he said, adding the old oak tree has beautiful "spalted oak" grain lines that are admired by woodworkers.

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More online: Mansfield News Journal

Copyright: Mansfield News Journal


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