- Tree was featured in 1994's "The Shawshank Redemption"
- High winds cause damaged oak tree to fall
The oak made its debut in 1994 near the movie's end when Morgan Freeman's character, the recently paroled prisoner Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding, follows clues to the tree's location. There he digs up and opens a box buried near the base containing a letter and cash to buy a bus ticket to see Andy Dufresne, an old friend who had escaped from prison and fled to Mexico.
The tree, Dufresne had told Redding, was where he had proposed to his wife. Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, was unjustly sent to prison in her killing.
"Promise me, Red. If you ever get out... find that spot," Dufresne tells Redding one day in prison.
In Stephen King's manuscript, the tree occupied a field in Buxton, Maine, but in real life the scene was shot 810 miles away in Richland County, Ohio.
Five years ago, lightning hit the oak and some of the tree was damaged. Jodie Snavely with the Mansfield & Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau says the rest of the tree fell Friday due to high winds. "It's a sad day for Shawshank fans," she said.
Thanks to the film, the field and tree have become an international tourist destination.
Fans quickly took to Twitter to express their condolences, including one user who expressed hope that something good is made of the wood.
"I have had a chance to see the tree and if it's a stump left, I'm sure people will still come see it because hope is a good thing, and a good thing never dies," Snavely says.