Famed 'Shawshank Redemption' Tree Is No More

The white oak tree featured in 'The Shawshank Redemption' was one of the highlights of a self-guided tour of local sights featured in the movie. Raln0975/Flickr

Near the end of the 1994 movie "The Shawshank Redemption," Morgan Freeman's character Red sits underneath the branches of a magnificent oak tree to read a letter written by his friend, Andy, played by Tim Robbins.

"Remember Red," the letter reads, "hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

That stately white oak, which had become an international tourism destination in Mansfield, Ohio, was knocked over by heavy winds in July 2016. And now the owner of the property, Dan Dees, says the last remaining pieces of the tree have been cut up and hauled away. Dees told the Mansfield News Journal that he was concerned about the liability related to people wandering onto it to take photos of the toppled tree.

"I don't have any big plans for it, other than to make a table out of it, or a bench. I've got some design plans," he told the News Journal.

Jodie Snavely, group tour manager for the Mansfield and Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, went out to see the downed tree, after her office got a call from a man who said he saw the famous oak tumble.

"Sure enough it was down," she told the Plain Dealer. "People are going to be heartbroken. It's extremely sad."

The tree was already damaged, having been hit by a storm in July 2011. Then about half the tree was destroyed, Snavely said.

The tree could have been as many as 200 years old, according to Snavely. It was a featured stop along The Shawshank Trail, a self-guided tour of more than a dozen sites in north central Ohio linked to the film. As many as 35,000 people visit those sites each year, Snavely says.

Some fans took to social media to share their thoughts on the tree's passing.