$107.00 per person (15 people maximum)
Members Only - No guests(no one under the age of 18)
We will be meeting at the Historic Ione Hotel at 4:30 for a check in and to go over the basic rules of the castle. We need to arrive at the castle by 6:00pm. Once the group is all there in the parking lot the gate will be locked. There will be no one there to unlock the gate if you show up late. The investigation is scheduled from 6:00pm through 4:00am. We will break up into 3 groups of 5. Each group will investigate 1 of 4 floors, alternating approximately every hour. There will be a docent with each group, (you must stay with the docent), the docent will participate as much or as little as each group desires. There is a visitor center located down the hill from the castle where there are bathrooms and a place to leave any food/snacks/drinks that you bring and we will have a break there about halfway through the investigation. This is not a location you can just come and go. If you need to leave early for some reason one of the docents will have to go down the hill to unlock the gate for you to leave.
DRESS WARM - There is no electricity in the building and it is missing many of the windows, so it can get extremely cold. It is also quite dilapidated, so wear closed toe shoes (they will not let you investigate with opened to shoes). I suggest layered clothing (gloves and beanies are also excellent options). Please do not wear any perfume, cologne or scented lotions as it makes it hard to tell if there are any phantom smells.
WHAT YOU SHOULD/CAN BRING: Please bring a flashlight (but nothing too powerful). You can bring any equipment you would like with the exception of live streaming equipment, Ouija Boards and headlamp style flashlights.
Being that the investigation ends at 4:00 am and it is aprox. a 3 hour drive for most of us, you might want to stay at the Historic Ione Hotel. They have 14 rooms. Call [masked]-6082.
I am planning on arriving at the hotel about 2:00pm. Come early and check out the town or hotel.
HISTORY OF PRESTON CASTLE (as listed on Preston Castle & Travel Channel websites)
In 1890, the 230 acre parcel of land where the Preston Castle stands was purchased from the Ione Coal & Iron Company for $30 per acre with 100 acres donated. The land was purchased to house the Preston School of Industry, established by the State Legislature as a progressive action toward rehabilitating, rather than simply imprisoning, juvenile offenders.
Building of the Preston School of Industry started right away. The bricks for the building were made at San Quentin and Folsom prisons using sandstone that was quarried six miles from Ione. The bricks were then delivered by rail at 6,000 bricks per car. The cornerstone was laid on December 23, 1890 with 2,500 people in attendance.
The plans for the school were ambitious with the original plans showing 77 rooms on five floors. The building would be the most significant example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the Mother Lode.
On June 13, 1894, the first wards were accepted at the Preston School of Industry, and the school was proclaimed officially opened on July 1, 1894. The next year, electricity was installed by way of a water wheel powered dynamos for incandescent and arc lights.
The Preston School of Industry remained open until 1960 when new facilities for the school were completed. The building remained vacant and fading into disrepair until September 10, 2001 when The Preston Castle Foundation received a fifty-year lease for the property. The Preston Castle has also been named a California State Historical Landmark (#867) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NPS[masked]).
There's No Escape
A convicted burglar, Samuel Goins, arrived at Preston School in July 1918. Within his first year, Samuel attempted to escape Preston three times. On April 19, 1919, during his third attempt, a Preston guard named John Kelly shot Samuel in the back; at 20 years old, he died two months shy of his release date. Samuel is buried in the Preston cemetery, along with 16 other young men who died within the school walls -- most from diseases like Yellow Fever and Tuberculosis.
The murder of Samuel Goins was not the only fatal act of violence that occurred at the school. In 1950, Preston's head housekeeper, Anna Corbin, was beaten to death in the school's basement. A flimsy case was formed against Eugene Monroe, one of the few black children at the school. Tried twice, the jury was hung each time; Anna Corbin's killer was never found.