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Preston Castle a short History

Updated on September 3, 2016

The Early Years

It was the year 1890 and the State of California purchased a 230 acre parcel of land, where Preston Castle now stands, for $30 per acre.

The land was purchased to house the Preston School of Industry; which was begun with the hope of rehabilitating juvenile offenders. In those times the only thing to do with juvenile offenders was to throw them into prisons with hardcore criminals at more serious prisons like Folsom or San Quentin. By throwing the juvenile offenders into other prisons they would either be killed for being weaker, or turn into more hardcore offenders. So the idea began to put the boys into not only a better place for them but to teach them a trade they could use upon their release to become a better functioning member of society. As the years went on parents would also drop their children off they could no longer afford to be raised along side offenders as well by the state.

The first wards were not accepted through the doors until June 1894, and the school was proclaimed officially opened on July 1, 1894. Electricity was not installed until 1895.

The basement includes a play room, laundry, shower room and plunge bath (which was filled with a delicing formula the children would have to swim through before they could live at the castle) kitchen, pantry, furnace room, fuel storage room, and a water closet with two toilets, a bakery, pantry, storeroom, and the employee's laundry and lavatory.

The first floor houses a reception, Director’s room, general office with a walk in vault, reception room, a butler's pantry, a dining room, employee bathroom, physician office, pharmacy, clerk’s office plus three additional offices and infirmary ward.

The second floor included a reading room, dormitory, a locker room, and a linen room, library, twelve chambers, coat and hat room, men's water closet and women's bathroom.

The castle remained open until 1960, when it closed the state invited people from the town to come and take anything they wanted from the castle, as a result there are entire sections of floor missing, railings are gone and carpets are missing.

The building remained empty and fading into disrepair until September 10, 2001 when The Preston Castle Foundation received a fifty-year lease for the property from the State of California. From the time they purchased it the Foundation has been trying to fix the damage that was done when the building was vacant and of course from the vandals over the years.

A Darker History

During the years the castle was open it was not without its darker times. Head housekeeper Anna Corbin was found brutally murdered on February 23, 1950 in the castle and to this day no one is sure who the killer was. Although, one of the wards, Eugene Monroe was accused of the crime he was tried three times and acquitted each due to lack of evidence.

Unfortunately a certain paranormal group entered the castle and decided to expand the story of Anna's brutal murder. Allow me to clear a couple things up, no one knows for sure where Anna's body was found, there is ideas but it is still not clear. The newspapers were never clear and the story has changed over the years from the wards and guards who found her. No one, from that point forward or previously has ever had an experience of "possession" by her. Looking into his story further, once you figure out who I am referring to, that "investigator" has even changed his story from being possessed to being "influenced" to just "making a connection" with Anna.

That being said the castle isn't without its darker spirits. No one is sure who the dark spirit is, why it is in a castle that was lived in by boys and children but make no mistake, if you are rude the spirit will make itself known to you. I have come into contact with this spirit and it was a less than pleasant experience.

Samuel Goins was shot in the neck in 1919 trying to escape from the castle with a friend Joe Lopez. Samuel died the next day and his friend followed a few days later. A teacher was murdered by a few boys after being bludgeoned to death with metal pipes after the teacher asked them to stay and help him clean up after a class.

Trying to keep things going

Today the castle is in the process of being upgraded and renovated by the foundation to try and restore it to its former glory. The most popular fundraiser being the Halloween Haunted House, where locals will give you your money's worth in scares. Bring a change of underwear with you, just in case.

With these fundraisers the foundation has been able to begin improving the cemetery of the boys who died on the site, putting in windows that haven't been there for years and improving the floors throughout the castle to open more of it to the general public for viewing.

A markerPreston castle, ione ca -
Preston Castle, Ione, CA 95640, USA
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© 2014 Chosen Shades

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