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Preston Castle

Castle Tours and Events
in Ione, CA

Book Online or Support the Castle

Available for booking starting March 1st

Engaging Experiences & Events at Preston Castle

Volunteer Opportunities

Whether you have a few hours a week, or just want to help out with a specific event, our volunteers are key to our success!


Consider providing a cash donation or purchasing a personalized brick that will be added to our new garden area.


If you’d like to make a regular donation to the castle, consider purchasing a membership. Each level comes with unique perks!

What is Preston Castle?

Preston Castle was constructed in 1894 as the administration building for the Preston School of Industry, a reform school for boys. The Romanesque Revival style of architecture was to make the building look like a school rather than a prison.

The Castle opened in June 1894 and remained in use until 1960. In 1960 the State planned to demolish the building and from 1960-1968 a group of local women fought to keep it standing. Once the State agreed to not tear the building down they also said they would do nothing to keep it standing.

The building remained vacant and in disrepair until September 2001 when the Preston Castle Foundation leased the building from the State. And later, in 2014, the foundation was granted ownership of the Castle and 12.91 acres.

The Preston Castle Foundation’s mission is to preserve, rehabilitate and utilize the historic Preston Castle site as well as preserving the history of the school, its staff and boys.

Testimonials from Our Valued Visitors

It was a waking nightmare in the best possible way!

I love Preston Castle and the amazing work the Foundation is doing to restore it. I attended the Preston Castle Haunt for the first time over the weekend and my husband and I had a blast! Well… if you can call having the crap scared out of you a “blast.” Pay the extra for the VIP line. It was worth it to spend less time in line… plus that’s extra money to their fundraising. Quality sets and props… nobody broke character… it was a waking nightmare in the best possible way! Don’t forget to check a regular guided tour through the castle in the daytime!

– Janette M. via Facebook
It’s a very cool and interesting place.

We took the tour and it was super interesting. The building these days is in pretty bad shape but they still let you see a lot of it and the back story is very interesting. I highly recommend the tour for any history or architecture buffs. It’s a very cool and interesting place. They also have special fundraising events like wine tastings and things so keep an eye out for those.

– Dana P. via Facebook
What a fun and interesting day!!

Preston Castle is a great place to visit. I love history and haunted places, so this didn't disappoint. There were a couple of rooms where I felt "energy". I can't imagine how creepy this place must be on Halloween. Took some amazing pictures here. The staff was friendly and made you feel that you can ask as many questions as you want. They offered us water with it being such a hot day. I can see why some movies and tv shows have been filmed here. Not sure if it would be a good place to bring little ones. I think it's best for teenagers and up.

– ElvisFann via TripAdvisor
Beautiful and Eerie at the same time...

A beautiful old Castle. It has a both great and greatly horrible history. All I'll say is that it's amazing what we used to do to treat the mistreated and troubled. Anyway... Many local wineries participated. Most were excellent. Food went very quickly. It was definitely a party experience.

– MikeandJim via TripAdvisor
The Best Halloween Experience Out There!!!!

Aside from the fact that Preston School of Industry (which is old corrections code for "prison") is an amazing piece of architecture, it also happens to be the best Haunted House around!!! Preston Castle started as a prison for juvenile's. Merle Haggard even spent some time there. The prison was closed and sat in disrepair for years. The hauntings associated with the Castle are easy to find as just about EVERY major paranormal TV show has frequented the building.

– Flynnfan via TripAdvisor
It is also an excellent place to investigate spirit activity!

I investigated Preston Castle with the group, the Bay Area Ghost Hunters. Based on my experiences and the EVPs collected, I believe the place is haunted! Our group had the whole Castle to ourselves from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. The docents were great guides. While the Castle is important historically, it is also an excellent place to investigate spirit activity. Others in my group reported seeing shadows and orbs; in the early evening we smelled a woman’s perfume around us several times as we toured the Castle–and no one was wearing anything with a scent! I am excited to review my digital recording to see if I captured anything. This is a definite Must-Go!

– Anne U. via Facebook