Tours currently cancelled due to COVID-19 guidelines -
When the majestic Preston Castle open for guided historical tours, You will be guided by a trained docent through the first floor, second floor and basement and learn about the history of the Preston School of Industry. No reservations are necessary. Plan a visit and enjoy a tour of the Castle, including a visit to the Farm Museum.
Virtual Tours: For our mobility restricted guests, these take place in the accessible ground floor (basement) of the Castle.
The strikingly beautiful Romanesque style Preston Castle, on a hill in Ione, was actually the administration building for the Preston School of Industry, the first major attempt in California at rehabilitating, instead of just imprisoning, young offenders. Opened in 1894, the Preston School of Industry became a leader in the juvenile prison reform movement by giving convicted boys a real chance at life by educating them not only in academics, but in all of the useful trades of the time. Closed in 1960, when the Preston Youth Authority moved into a new administration building down the hill, the Preston Castle was left to deteriorate due to weather, vandalism, and general neglect. It now serves as a vacant, but vitally important landmark for Ione, Amador County, and the Mother Lode. It is a California State Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
900 Palm Dr. (end of)
Ione, CA 95640
When Tours Resume:
Historical Tours at Preston Castle
Saturdays May through August
Self-guided tours, 10 am to noon
Guided tours, 1 pm, 1:30 pm, 2 pm
Self-guided: $15, $10 under 12, free under 5
Guided: $20, $15 under 12, free under 5
Self-guided tours give guests the opportunity to view the Castle at their own pace. Informed docents are placed on each floor to help guide our guests through the three available floors.
Guided tours add a more personal touch and usually take an hour to complete. A virtual tour is offered for those with mobility restrictions.
Docent-Led Historic Tours: Tours are 1:00 PM, 1:30 PM and 2:00 PM Tickets are available at the door and online if not sold out in advance. Castle Tours
Self-guided Tours: Tickets sold at the door only. Guests must leave by 1:00 PM. These allow you to go through the Castle at your own pace, with information provided by posted descriptions. Docents will be available along the way to answer questions.