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Preservation society plans to open a bed and breakfast next to haunted prison

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The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society plans to obtain a run-down property to use as a lodging house for ghost-hunting tourists that visit the Ohio State Reformatory. The house is a tax delinquent property that is located across the street from the old prison and was originally part of the Hancock Heights neighborhood that was home to prison guards, the Mansfield News Journal reported today.

The property that the preservation society is seeking is one of ten houses located on the other side of Olivesburg Road across from the old Ohio State Reformatory and Richland Correctional Institution in Mansfield, Ohio. All of the brick houses are identical and were at one point home to construction workers that built the prison and later prison guards that worked for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

The house on 417 Annadale Avenue is one of six abandoned properties that the Richland County Land Reutilization Corporation had on its list for resale or demolition. Mansfield Preservation Board of Trustees representative Ed Meehan hopes to acquire the property and rehabilitate it turning the house into a lodging area for ghost hunters.

Richland County Treasurer and corporation board chair member Bart Hamilton said that an adjoining property owner showed interest in the house on Annadale Avenue and planned to use it for parking. The Richland County Historical Society recently researched the properties and found out that the buildings were originally used to house prison guards. A representative recommended that demolition plans be halted.

According to Meehan, the preservation society wants to fix up the house and turn it into a bed and breakfast for paranormal investigators. He said that the house is perfect for ghost hunters because instead of going to a hotel in town after an investigation, they can go across the street and go to sleep.

“They leave at four or five o’clock in the morning and are so tired that they go back to motel and sleep the rest of the next day. That person could rent that facility for an evening and go home after that,” Meehan said.

A representative of the land reutilization board said that the use of the house as a bed and breakfast will require a zoning change for the property.

“We’re not in this for the property. We feel this is part of the reformatory history and should not be demolished. Once a demolition is done, there’s no going back,” Mansfield Historical Preservation Commission representative Dan Seckel said.

The Ohio State Reformatory was built in 1896 and was in operation until 1990. Over 200 deaths have occurred in the facility. Many people believe that ghosts of former inmates haunt the old prison. It is suggested that the angry spirits are still doing time and are forever trapped in the reformatory.

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