Hollywood of the Midwest
Hollywood discovered Richland County more than 40 years ago and continues to visit regularly — especially when a major motion picture calls for memorable prison scenes. Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford and Glen Close, was shot in Mansfield in 1997. In 1995, Shawshank Redemption was shot in Richland County. And years before, Tango and Cash was also shot in Mansfield. All filmed major scenes at the castle-like Historic Ohio State Reformatory, now open Sundays for public tours, with Hollywood movie sets remaining as part of the tour.
The Renaissance Theatre is a historic 1928 movie palace in the grand baroque style. Sit in the very same seats as Hollywood once did as they previewed Shawshank Redemption in 1993.
Pulitzer prize-winning novelist and conservationist Louis Bromfield introduced celebrities to Richland County at his Malabar Farm. Most notable: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall’s 1945 wedding, which took place in the farm’s “Big House.” Sam Goldwyn, Kay Francis and James Cagney are just a few of the celebs who came to Malabar Farm for a respite from the Hollywood hubbub. Today, visitors enjoy the interesting tales and glamorous photos of movie stars who visited the 32-room mansion.
Another stop that welcomes visitors, Oak Hill Cottage (Shane’s Castle), was Bromfield’s boyhood playground and provided his inspiration for his novel, “The Green Bay Tree.” With its seven gables and five double chimneys, it’s noted as the most perfect gothic home in the US.
Star-watchers are in seventh heaven at Lexington’s Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Auto racing enthusiasts, including the late Paul Newman, Lorenzo Lamas and David Letterman, have been spotted at the track each race season.