It was a day I’d looked forward to; a chance to meet a fellow detectorist/YouTuber and do some metal detecting at a late 1800s prison now used as a museum, along with THREE houses built in 1870. I anticipated finding a lot of good stuff with Tom, who goes by Hiluxyota on YT, and couldn’t wait to meet him and get started. It was supposed to be overcast along with the upper-30 degree temps but that was OK by me. This was going to be fun!
It was, right up until I backed out of the garage into a light drizzling rain.
Well it couldn’t last, I thought as I drove to a retail lot to meet Tom. It did. The guy I’d watched metal detect on his video channel was just as nice in person as he comes across in his recordings. I gave him a little gift, a challenge coin issued by the police department I worked for, with an engraving of the old prison on the reverse side. Fitting, I thought, for where we were going to hunt.
Tom followed me to the old Ohio State Reformatory, a looming, castle-like structure that dates to the late 1800s. I was actually in the place once while it was still in use, tagging along with another officer to interview an inmate about some sort of crime. ‘Dank’, ‘dark’ and ‘odorous’ describe my memory of the joint, the cell blocks rising six stories. Most of the back end of the complex is gone now, having been demolished years ago, but the entrance and a good portion of one of the original cell blocks still stands. The OSR Preservation Society owns it now and conducts tours nearly year-round; they also host ghost hunts and have a hugely successful ‘haunted prison’ event in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Most of the movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’ was filmed there, too. I gained permission to metal detect the grounds mainly due to the director having been a past employee of the police department back in the day.
We pulled into the lot, only to discover the gates were locked; they weren’t scheduled to open until 10 AM. The three houses, also owned by the OSRPS, were just across the road, so that’s where we started. When we finished with those, back across the state route we went, hitting an area between the prison’s pond and the south perimeter fence. Once we finished up there Tom and I travelled across US 30 a few miles to the abandoned farm I’ve worked the last few months.
Aside from clad change, out of the five locations, we got squat. Zilch. Zero. PLUS it was very muddy everywhere but at the prison,so muc so that, when I got home over six hours later, I shed my outer wear in the garage. Then I soaked my aching back in a tub of hot water followed by a nap in the recliner.
Disappointed? Hugely, along with a slight dose of embarrassment. I know, no one can control what comes out of the ground, but still you’d think those houses would have produced something….
…and that’s why I went back to the first one today. I knew there had to be something there, and I wasn’t disappointed. Two IHPs, 1889 and 1904, came out of the front yard next to two old pine trees.
…and I’ll be going back to the other two just as soon as the weather and my schedule permit
The Ohio State Reformatory, early 1900s and present day