Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghost Stories - Preston Castle Part 3

Photo from website

The Amador Ledger Dispatch wrote a very informative article when Ghost Trackers were first invited to the Preston Castle. This also includes more of the history of those who lived and died at the castle. Whatever opinion you may hold on such things, it is fascinating to read.

It is also easy to imagine Dracula lurking in these halls. . .

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dracula Project Fundraising Reception

On Thursday, October 30, a fundraising reception for the Dracula Project will be held at Imagination Theater from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Come learn more about the production that is slated for October 2009. Those in attendance will be treated to costume drawings and storyboards for the film and theatrical presentation. A short, live auction will be held for a small, but vital role in the film. Those interested in sponsoring Dracula should contact Joshua Porter at 530-748-9279 or Lanny Langston at 530-642-0404.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dracula Project - Preston Castle, Part 2

Now that you know a little bit of history about the Preston Castle, it probably wouldn't surprise you that people believe ghosts reside there. In June, the Preston Castle Foundation began allowing Ghost Trackers, the paranormal research group, to coordinate overnight stays.

Here is an account of one experience entitled the Preston Castle Slumber Party and some photographs taken during the visit.

For those who want to discover the castle in daylight may do so on the regular historical tours that are offered the first and third Saturdays of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Tours resume in March 2009.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dracula Project - Preston Castle

This past weekend, I drove through Ione returning from the Central Valley. I had not taken this route for quite some time and it was a real feast for the eyes to see Preston Castle looming in front of me heading east. It is quite impressive in size and appearance. Next year, Imagination Theater in partnership with Porter Media Group plans to present Bram Stoker's Dracula in October 2009. Parts of the production will be filmed at Preston Castle and will be integrated into the stage production. Below is a picture and history of the castle from the Preston Castle Foundation website.

In 1890, the 230 acre parcel of land where the Preston Castle stands was purchased from the Ione Coal & Iron Company for $30 per acre with 100 acres donated. The land was purchased to house the Preston School of Industry, established by the State Legislature as a progressive action toward rehabilitating, rather than simply imprisoning, juvenile offenders.

Building of the Preston School of Industry started right away. The bricks for the building were made at San Quentin and Folsom prisons using sandstone that was quarried six miles from Ione. The bricks were then delivered by rail at 6,000 bricks per car. The cornerstone was laid on December 23, 1890 with 2,500 people in attendance.

The plans for the school were ambitious with the original plans showing 77 rooms on five floors. The building would be the most significant example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the Mother Lode.

The first floor would house a reception and Director’s room, general office with a walk in vault, reception room, sitting room, a butler's pantry, a dining room, employee lavatory, physician office, pharmacy, clerk’s office plus three additional offices. The first floor annex would include a dining room. The second floor would include a reading room, library, twelve chambers, a school room, coat and hat room, men's water closet and women's lavatory. The second floor annex would hold a dormitory, a locker room, and a linen room.

A mezzanine level was to provide two bathrooms with three bathtubs. The third and fourth floors would remain unfinished. The third floor would contain twelve rooms and the fourth floor was designed to have six rooms. The basement would include a play room, water closet (long urinal and nine toilets), laundry, lavatory with foot bath, shower room and plunge bath, hall, kitchen, pantry, furnace room, fuel storage room, and a water closet with two toilets. The basement annex would hold a bakery, fuel storage room, kitchen, pantry, storeroom, and the employee's laundry and lavatory.

On June 13, 1894, the first wards were accepted at the Preston School of Industry, and the school was proclaimed officially opened on July 1, 1894. The next year, electricity was installed by way of a water wheel powered dynamos for incandescent and arc lights.

The Preston School of Industry remained open until 1960 when new facilities for the school were completed. The building remained vacant and fading into disrepair until September 10, 2001 when The Preston Castle Foundation received a fifty-year lease for the property. The Preston Castle has also been named a California State Historical Landmark (#867) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NPS-75000422).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

After many twists and turns (like the yellow brick road), the Imagination Theater website is up and running. Check it out and let us know what you think.

It's time to celebrate! Celebrate Good Times! Good Stories! Good Company! IT!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Life at the Fairgrounds

One thing I have learned over the last couple of months is how much is happening at the fairgrounds. I knew that it is used for many other events throughout the year, like last weekend's Rock and Gem Show and the upcoming Home for the Holidays Show, but I have seen first hand quite a number of people walking their dogs, flying model planes, camping in their rv, getting flu shots, holding company meetings, running for a cross country meet, or just simply eating lunch under one of the large, shady trees. The El Dorado County Fairgrounds is an wonderful community resource that is well worth checking out. You might be surprised at what you find (including the location of Imagination Theater in Placerville).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Break a Leg

This past weekend, my daughter's finger was injured. She may have a broken finger, though I am watching and waiting to make the call if we should go an emergency clinic or wait until Monday and see our regular doctor. Thinking about broken bones, caused me to think about the phrase "Break a Leg" that you hear people share before going out on stage. Here is a link to Wikipedia Break a Leg with some ideas as to its origin.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Dracula Project

It's getting to be scary out there--and I'm not talking about what's on the news! I'm starting to see yards being decorated for Halloween. Fake cobwebs (we have the real ones at home), pumpkins, and scarecrows are just a few things I've seen. Yesterday while out on a walk, I saw that someone had used a lifelike wig to make it appear as if someone was crouched behind the bushes. I'm glad that the sun had not set yet!

This reminds me of something new that IT! is doing with a new film company, Porter Media Group. They are planning to produce a multi-media presentation of Bram Stoker's “Dracula” in October 2009. This presentation will be a combination of film and live theater. It should be very interesting. They are planning to film some scenes in Camino and also the Preston Castle in Ione. Maybe in a future blog, I'll post some interesting details about the castle. Here's a link if you want to check it out for yourself:

An event to raise funds for the project is coming up on Thursday, October 30th at the theater from 6-9 p.m. People will be able to view costume drawings and storyboards from the film and theatrical presentation. There will also be a short live auction for a small, but vital role in the movie.

My Favorite Things

I've been listening to the cd's of some musicals these past few weeks. Day in and day out, I select one and see which songs captures my fancy. Surprisingly, I have yet to tire of them. I've discovered the rich and clever words of the songwriter. Words that express the feelings of "yesterday" are just as relevant for today. For example,"When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad." Does this help you? What are some of your favorite things? Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens? Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens? In these uncertain times, when so much is out of our control, take time to reflect on a few of your favorite things. I'm confident that you won't feel so bad.