The massive oak tree that helped create one of the most beautiful scenes in the film "The Shawshank Redemption" may be coming down.
High winds last Friday around Mansfield, Ohio - where primary filming took place in 1993 - wrecked havoc on the tree, splitting it down its rotten middle and taking off one side. In the movie, the oak is where Morgan Freeman's character "Red" finds money and a note left by Tim Robbins’s character.
While "Shawshank" wasn't a hit at the box office, critics loved it and the film went on to score seven Oscar nominations. In later years, it has also appeared on a number of "Best Movie Ever" lists, including a #1 ranking in a March 2011 poll by BBC Radio 1.
With such adoration, the town of Mansfield has enjoyed a boost in tourism and even created a "Shawshank Trail" that includes 12 sites from the film. The giant oak has been a major highlight for fans.
"There was a couple that came in from Fort Wayne, Ind., today (Friday) to take the CVB's Shawshank Trail," Lee Tasseff, president of the Mansfield-Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau told the Mansfield News Journal. "It's a very sentimental part of the trail. Those people, besides seeing the Ohio State Reformatory prison, wanted to make sure they didn't miss the tree.
"We've had people want to know if they can propose under that tree, or have a picnic under that tree, and we tell them no, it's private property," he added.
According to sources, Mansfield officials are meeting with the owners of the tree to determine what might be done to save it. "We highly encourage folks who want to see the tree in its natural location to visit now, while part of it remains standing," a rep said.
To see a picture of the damaged tree, jump here.