Upper Sandusky receives two 'Ohio Historical Markers'

The Wyandot County Courthouse was one of the locations in Upper Sandusky designated as an 'Ohio Historical Marker' (WNWO) .

UPPER SANDUSKY, Ohio (WNWO) - The Shawshank Redemption has been a hit since the moment it came out. Some people in Northwest, Ohio worked alongside actors Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, as parts of the movie were filmed in Upper Sandusky.

It all started with a simple add in the local paper calling for movie extras.

“I tried out and they asked me to be an extra in the outdoor scenes on the prison grounds,” said Max Gerber, who was an extra in the film.

Little did the people of Upper Sandusky know, The Shawshank Redemption would turn their town, and Ohio, around.

“During filming, it brought in over $9 million,” said Bill Mullen, with the group, ‘Friends of The Shawshank Redemption.’ “It continues to bring in $1 million annually.”

It was the Wyandot County Courthouse and Stephan Lumber that stole the show in Upper Sandusky.

“Frank Darabont said it all. Frank walks through every scene in the movie, and when he walks you through the courtroom he says the people here were very welcoming, people bent over backward,” said Mullen.

On Wednesday, those spots finally received some long overdue recognition as Ohio Historical Markers.

Community members and extras came out to celebrate the markers. They were dressed in costume and re-enacting scenes.

Lifelong Upper Sandusky resident, Max Gerber, recalled how his three days as an extra turned into a bit more. Gerber was the only resident to get his name in those famous movie credits.

“They asked me to work with the cast and crew, as a lighting stand-in,” said Gerber.

Gerber admits they didn’t quite know just how successful The Shawshank Redemption would be.

“Morgan sat down with me and we ended up playing a game of chess,” said Gerber.

So while the historical markers are catching up about two and a half decades later, this groups history has yet to fade.

“I ended up beating him, he didn’t like that,” said Gerber. “He said, ‘I want a rematch.’ We never got a chance to do that.”

As we approach the 25th anniversary, next year, organizations across the state are already preparing a big reunion with souvenirs and a showing of the film where it premiered.

They've even reached out to actors from the film.

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