Johnny Cash Tribute & BBQ at Preston Castle

Preston Castle in Ione, CA.

Preston Castle in Ione, CA. Photo by Sarah Hahn.

Our project manager, Ambrose Wong, headed to a fun concert at Preston Castle this past weekend. The event was hosted by the Preston Castle Foundation and featured a Johnny Cash tribute band with James Garner. Ambrose says, the evening started off with a tri-tip barbecue and just “became better with the start of the music.” The event was a musical journey of Johnny Cash’s hits performed in the same style that they were originally performed. As the day came to a close, the bats came out and the resident white owl made its evening flight from the tower up lit by the building’s lights.

Preston Castle is a brick and stone Richardsonian Romanesque building constructed on land that was purchased from the Ione Coal & Iron Company to house the Preston School of Industry, established by the State Legislature to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. It served as the administrative building and is one of over a dozen associated buildings on the site.

The bricks for the building were made at San Quentin and Folsom prison. It also used local sandstone. The cornerstone was laid on December 23, 1890. The original plans show 77 rooms on five floors. The School officially opened on July 1, 1894. The 120-room structure remained open until 1960.

The building remained vacant and faded into disrepair until September 10, 2001 when The Preston Castle Foundation received a fifty-year lease for the property. The Castle is a California State Historical Landmark (#867) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NPS-75000422). Garavaglia Architecture provided a historic structures report and ongoing consulting services. Becky Urbano is currently updating the National Register. The Foundation is a recipient of a 2007 Johanna Favrot Grant from the National Trust and a 2008 CPF President’s Award.

Preston Castle is open for tours selected days of the year. The next event at Preston Castle will be the Wine Tasting on September 12th. Tickets are only $35. Contact the Preston Castle Foundation for more information. See you there!

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