“take a paranormal tour if you dare”
The Preston School of Industry, also known as Preston Castle, was formerly one of the oldest and best-known reform schools in the United States. The institution was opened in June 1894 when seven wards (minors under the guardianship of the state, but not necessarily juvenile offenders), were transferred there from San Quentin State Prison. Numerous Paranormal research groups have investigated this location and report that it is one of the most active sites they have had the pleasure to experience. You will also have the chance to learn paranormal investigation techniques if you wish to do so. The original building, known colloquially as "Preston Castle" (or simply "The Castle"), is the most significant example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the Mother Lode. It was vacated in 1960, shortly after new buildings had been constructed to replace it. The abandoned building has since been named a California Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a female housekeeper who was found bludgeoned to death, and her murderer was never found. Her ghost is said to roam the halls, crying. In addition, over the years many youths died of diseases and many, many more were subjected to harsh discipline, including public paddling, abuse, and starvation. Thanks to our partnership with an experienced Paranormal Research Group we are excited to offer opportunities for visitors to perform nighttime paranormal investigations. Now you can have the opportunity to be in the Castle at night with a small number of other ghost hunters. You will have access to three floors of the Castle throughout the night with only your flashlight and paranormal investigation gear along for comfort. The facility's name has often been used in movies and also television programs, such as Dragnet. In 1999, the institution's official name was changed to the "Preston Youth Correctional Facility", but most people in the state — especially those who reside in the immediate area — continue to refer to it by its original name. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced on October 21, 2010, that the Preston Youth Correctional Facility will be closing. On June 2, 2011, Preston held its official closing ceremony. Former staff, correctional officers, correctional counselors, and the public were invited to celebrate Preston's last day open as a correctional facility. The building is open to tours for the public and it is maintained by the Preston Castle Foundation. You are invited to take an interesting and informative historical tour of Preston Castle. 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. The first tour goes out at 10:00 AM and depending on demand tours depart every 15-30 minutes. We offer self-guided tours one Tuesday each month during the summer. These allow you to go through the Castle at your own pace, with information provided by posted descriptions or you can listen to the descriptions by using your smartphone. Also available is a Virtual Tour for our mobility restricted guests which will take place on the accessible ground floor (basement) of the Castle.
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