Preston Castle, the former Preston School of Industry

June 6th, 2009 - 4:09 pm ICT by GD  

Built in the late 1890s, the former Preston School of Industry looms lonely atop a hill. Locally known as the Preston Castle, the sandstone Romanesque Revival was then built as a reform school. In the 1890s, this castle housed more than a thousand incorrigible and violent orphans. Until the late 1960s they learned the art of farming, carpentry and auto repair in the Preston Castle. Merle Haggard and Rory Calhoun, the cowboy star of the 50s, are two of the well known products of the Preston Castle.

To get to the front doors of the castle one has to drive uphill for some time. The blue sky dotted randomly by shapeless puffy clouds and the lush green hills of Mador County surround the whole location to evoke the feeling of forbidden pleasure. It is almost like he or she is entering some forbidden place where only the dead are allowed.

The first thing that catches the eyes upon reaching the gates of the castle are the elongated windows, some of which are boarded while others are caged. The castle is covered with towers and the turrets.

Recently, a murder mystery, “Engagement to Murder” was filmed in Preston Castle. The film was directed and produced by Caroline Taylor, a local, who grew up looking at the fading walls of the castle everyday of her life. About filming her first movies in the Preston Castle, Taylor says, “The cast had a great time filming in Preston Castle. It was exciting for them to wander around and try to find the perfect rooms to shoot in.”

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