Division of Juvenile Justice, Unlocking History

Preston School of Industry regularly marked patriotic holidays

Ione facility opened doors July 1, 1894

The Preston School of Industry was activated July 1, 1894, and regularly observed patriotic holidays with decorations and activities. The facility closed in 2004.

Independence Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day holidays were observed at Preston with decorations, marching bands and military drills.

Getting started in the northern part of the state

“The State Prison Directors held an informal meeting today to complete arrangements for the purchase of lands and water rights for the building of the Preston Industrial School at Ione in Amador County,” reported the Sacramento Daily Union, June 16, 1890.

The proposed $66, 900 funding included:

  • cost of land, $6,900
  • water rights, $45,000
  • reservoir, $15,000

“The State, in its appropriation, allowed $160,000 for the purchase of land, water and the erection of buildings and maintenance of the school for the first year, thus leaving in the neighborhood of $90,000 for the buildings,” according to the newspaper.

The facility was to be named after a former elected official.

“Ex-Senator Preston of Nevada, after whom the Preston School is named, spoke of the origin of the institution and the good work for which it was intended,” reported the San Francisco Call, Jan. 30, 1893.

Assembly members and state senators promised they would find the money to pay to complete the necessary work. It took three years for the facility to finally open and accept wards.

Preston School observes patriotic holidays

Of interest is this note from 1898, “Sunday, May 29 – Each cadet was given an American flag and badge containing a picture of a battleship preparatory to the celebration tomorrow.”

The U.S. battleship Maine exploded in Havana Harbor in Cuba on Feb. 15 so the school was planning to honor those who lost their lives by participating in a ceremony in town.

“Monday, May 30 – This morning at 9:30 a.m. the three companies of cadets formed in front of the administration building. A large float representing the battleship Maine – most artistically gotten up by Mr. Tharsing – drawn by four horses headed the procession; then came the school band followed by the cadets, under command of Major Blair, who marched to Ione and took part in the exercises of Decoration Day. The school contingent was the main feature of the day’s proceedings.”

Story by Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor.

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