Shawshank tree

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Shawshank tree
Black and white image of white oak tree. Image is after the 2011 lightning strike that split it in half.
Shawshank tree in 2013
SpeciesWhite oak (Quercus alba)
LocationLucas, Ohio, U.S.
Coordinates40°39′14″N 82°23′31″W / 40.65400°N 82.39195°W / 40.65400; -82.39195 (Shawshank tree)Coordinates: 40°39′14″N 82°23′31″W / 40.65400°N 82.39195°W / 40.65400; -82.39195 (Shawshank tree)
Date seededc. 1836[1]
Date felledJuly 22, 2016 (2016-07-22)
Websiteshawshankoaktree.com

The Shawshank Tree was a white oak located near Malabar Farm State Park in Lucas, Ohio, United States, that was featured in the 1994 motion picture The Shawshank Redemption.[2][3][4][5][6] The tree was at least 100 feet (30 m) tall and approximately 180 to 200 years old.[1][7] It played a central role in the film's plot and was one of the most popular tourist sites connected to it. The tree was split by lightning on July 29, 2011, and was eventually knocked down by strong winds on or around July 22, 2016.

History[edit]

The tree was a major tourist attraction for fans of the film, although located on private property at Malabar Farm.[1][4] It formed part of "The Shawshank Trail" which features many of the film's iconic locations and attracts up to 35,000 visitors annually.[5] The farm where the tree was located is sometimes used as a venue for weddings.[4][7]

On July 29, 2011, half of the tree fell due to trunk rot from ants after being hit by lightning.[3][4][8][9] News of the event became viral,[2][10] appearing in news outlets in the United Kingdom and India.[11] The tree's fate was uncertain at the time,[10] and officials were pessimistic about its chances of survival,[12] but it was found to be alive.[13] The tree was further damaged in July 2016 due to strong winds.[2][3] The event caused a major increase in Internet traffic to the Mansfield and Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau website and general interest in the Shawshank Trail.[11] The remaining portions of the tree were cut down on April 9, 2017, by the property's current owner.[14]

Role in film[edit]

Though the film is set in Maine, much of the filming took place in Mansfield, Ohio, and nearby locations. The oak appears near the end of The Shawshank Redemption when Red (played by Morgan Freeman) follows clues left by Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins) to its location. Red finds a box buried at the base of a stone wall in the shade of the oak.[5] The box contains a letter from Andy and cash to buy a bus ticket to visit him in Mexico.[3] In the film, Andy describes the tree as "like something out of a Robert Frost poem".[11]

The oak has been described as among the most iconic trees in film history.[2][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Turner, Cory (August 4, 2011). "On Location: Mansfield, Ohio's 'Shawshank' Industry". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Williams, Nathan (July 23, 2016). "Shawshank Redemption oak tree falls and fans grieve". BBC. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Jones, Sheena (July 23, 2016). "Famous 'Shawshank' oak falls". CNN. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Whitmire, Lou (July 22, 2016). "'Shawshank' tree falls over". Mansfield News Journal. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Simakis, Andrea (August 20, 2011). "'Shawshank Redemption' fan makes a pilgrimage to Mansfield and film's iconic tree". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  6. ^ Schulz, Bill (August 7, 2014). "Visiting 'Shawshank' Sites, 20 Years Later". New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Glaser, Susan (July 22, 2016). "Famous 'Shawshank Redemption' tree near Mansfield knocked over by wind (video)". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  8. ^ Bateman, David (May 19, 2016). "Shawshank Trail highlights". Toranto Star Newspaper. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  9. ^ Child, Ben (August 3, 2011). "Shawshank Redemption tree split in half by storm". The Guardian. Retrieved July 25, 2016. But Bill Mullen, curator of a museum in Upper Sandusky devoted to all things "Shawshank," says black ants had eaten their way through the center of the tree, hollowing it out.
  10. ^ a b c "'No good thing ever dies': Shawshank Redemption tree on death's door after storm battering". The Daily Mail. August 2, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Simakis, Andrea (August 20, 2011). "'Shawshank Redemption' fan makes a pilgrimage to Mansfield and film's iconic tree". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  12. ^ TMZ Staff (August 2, 2011). "'Shawshank Redemption' Tree SO YOU'RE SAYIN' THERE'S A CHANCE!?". TMZ. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  13. ^ Destries, Michael (July 30, 2012). "Good News: The Shawshank Oak Tree is Alive and Well". Ecorazzi. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  14. ^ "The 200-Year-Old Tree in Shawshank Redemption Just Got Chopped Down". April 9, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017.