Preston Castle, Ione California
Ione California is at the edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills about 40 miles southeast of Sacramento. It's an interesting area geologically. The Motherlode area immediately east and north of Ione is famous for gold mines. Ione was the center of a small district of coal and clay mines. Some of the clay mines, which were famous for producing high quality refractory ceramics, are still producing. Ione also has a long history as the home of penal institutions. The Mule Creek State Prison, just outside of Ione, is one of the area's largest employers. The Preston School of Industry, a reform school, closed in 2010 leaving a large campus of empty buildings, the most prominent of which is the Preston Castle pictured here.
Construction on Preston Castle started at the opening of the Preston School in 1890 and continued until 1894. The building stopped being used in 1960. The Preston School campus expanded over the years and includes dozens of buildings from different periods. The school permanently closed in 2010. Some of the campus is accessible while other portions are fenced. Preston Castle is owned by the Preston Castle Foundation; the rest of the campus still seems to be owned by the state of California. The Preston Castle Foundation offers scheduled tours and uses the building for events, such as a Halloween haunted house. If you arrive at the castle when there aren't any scheduled events you'll be kept a distance away from the building by fencing but the castle is still visible as in these photos.
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