Preston Castle

Ione Calif

Building started in 1890 as Preston School of Industry. A visionary of the time to rehabilitate the wayward youths back to Society. Seventy-seven (77) rooms on five (5) floors. The bricks were mined outside of Ione, and manufactured in San Quentin and Folsom Prisons. The bricks were then shipped by rail car back to Ione.

This would be the most significant example of Romanesque Revival architecture in Northern California. In 1894 the first wards were brought to stay. During it’s peak, it encompassed 750 acres of farmland, 800 wayward youths, 200 staff and approximately 50 buildings. Including the Castle. It remained open until 1960, when the new facilities were finished (right next door). The Castle remained empty in disrepair until 2001, when the Preston Castle Foundation was created. They acquired a fifty (50) year lease. During this time, cleaning and repairs started. In 2014, the Foundation purchased 12.91 acres and the Castle.

During those early days, a group of us were allowed to come in and photograph it. We literally had the run of the place, except the top three floors (due to wood rot). The following is just a sample of what I enjoyed shooting, from 2006-2009. This was before adventuring to the side of digital. I was still using film. Information on YouTube and several TV shows have been filmed here.

My affection for staircases started here

As did my love of contrast lighting.

Yes I saturated a bit, I did not add any color, just enhanced.

Never found one alive, but spiders.....yes

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