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‘Shawshank Redemption’ Oak Tree felled by high winds

“No good thing ever dies.”  Andy Dufresne wrote those words to his friend Red near the end of “The Shawshank Redemption,” the film adaption of a Stephen King short story that took the world by storm in 1994.

And while millions familiar with the movie know that Andy got the best of Warden Norton in the end, breaking out of Shawshank to spend his last years on a beach in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, he was wrong about one thing.

The magnificent oak tree beneath which Morgan Freeman read those words onscreen is no more, toppled by strong winds in Lucas, Ohio, which stood in for Buxton, Maine, during filming.

“It’s sad for the millions of folks who have an emotional connection to the movie,†Lee Tasseff, president of the Mansfield/Richland County Convention Bureau told, “but particularly those that really identify with the tree as a symbol of hope.â€

(MORE: Big Apple Landmark Struck By Lightning During Monday’s Storms)

A thunderstorm blew through the area Friday morning, with winds that gusted to 34 mph, according to a personal weather station in nearby Mansfield. It was too much for the tree, which had already lost half its trunk to a windstorm on July 29, 2011 – nearly five years to the day earlier.

“It was inevitable because the tree was dry in the inside,†Jodie Snavely, director of media for the convention bureau, told the Mansfield News Journal.

The tree, which is still fronted by the iconic stone wall featured in the film, stood on private property about 5 miles outside Lucas, part of the Shawshank Trail, a tour of filming sites run by the convention bureau that draws fans from around the world.

In addition to the tree, the trail includes the Wyandot County Courthouse where Andy was convicted, the “Maine National Bank” building where Andy collected Warden Norton’s ill-gotten gains and the Ohio State Reformatory – Shawshank itself.

Tasseff said trail employees have witnessed fans’ emotional connection to these landmarks over many years, and urges those who still want to see the tree to visit before it’s taken off the property.

“If you’ve always had that desire to do it, your time is now,†he told

Though no apparent plans have been made for the tree’s future, it may be displayed at the reformatory, where the section that was sheared off by the 2011 storm sits on the grounds outside the building.

Snavely told that she believes fans will still want to see the site where it once stood.

“The sun is out. It’s a beautiful day. There is still hope,” she said, quoting Andy in the movie.

And no matter what happens to the tree or the site, the majestic oak will undoubtedly live on in the hearts and minds of millions who watched Red’s hope blossom beneath its branches.

So maybe, in the end, Andy was right after all.



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