Thursday, July 19, 2018

detour: Preston Castle

Preston Castle

On a muggy, overcast day, we went to explore an intriguing-sounding new location: Preston Castle. Built in the 1890s, not as a castle (even with 77 rooms and 43 fireplaces), but as a reform school, it housed the boys and employees until 1960. When the state decided to close it they let anyone come strip the building, and there is almost nothing left of the amazing interiors.

The Foundation who owns the building take a tiny donation and docents will guide you or you can wander through the accessible areas. Much is so damaged, having no roof for more than 40 years will do that to a structure, but you can see the amazing bones of the place, and what is what have once been.

grand entrance

the Director on his horse
The wards were originally from San Quentin prison, though later, as the docents explained, it was also people who dropped off misbehaving kids, and Depression-era parents unable to care for their sons. There were even a few famous residents (Merle Haggard's story was told to us by a docent!). I'm sure some deserved to be there, though not all, and life could be harsh but also seemed to have some "school" aspects (orchards, farms, the library, etc).

Oh, I have a relative on the list! (same last name)

side entrance for wards

plunge pool for decontamination

dorm room

The front entrance was grand for visitors and politicians, though the wards entered in through the side, and had to go through a toxic bath to rid themselves of lice, etc. The dorm area with original beds is a huge, vaulted room, and the library would have once been filled with books and looked out on a lovely view.

sad remains

the only remaining pieces  of original tile

the library windows and view

still intact plaster ceiling medallion

one original library door remains, only saved because it was hidden behind a wall!

I was intrigued by empty firehose reels, a metal-enclosed slide fire escape (complete with an owl living in the top!), and glimpses of past beauty.

an employees room

fire hose reel

fire escape!

even wiring was ripped out

peeling paint above a door frame

The shell of what remain is impressive on the outside, and sad on the inside, both due to the state of disrepair and the subject matter.

can make it spooky too

architectural details

brick detailing

But what a fascinating piece of California history.

(There is so much history online, and please read about it for complete details: Preston Castle Foundation, Sac Bee Article)

1 comment:

  1. That's so cool. I love exploring old buildings like that. It's so sad it's in such a state of disrepair though.