History of Ione California
The history of Ione tells a tale that started in the California gold rush and unfolded over the years to become the small yet progressive town that it is today. With a golf club, equestrian center, beautiful Howard Park and historic downtown, Ione maintains its small-town feel with the advantage of modern conveniences.
Ione, California: Beginnings in the Gold Rush
Ione was formed during the California Gold Rush as miners and adventurers reached the area in search of an elusive fortune, which for some became a lucrative gambit. Called various other names in its early days, the name Ione is thought to come from a heroine in an 1834 novel called “The Last Days of Pompeii” by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The town was named about 1849 by prospector Thomas Brown.
After the Gold Rush: Time of Growth
During the 1850s, Ione residents saw the construction of the first school, flour mill and the beginnings of its historic Methodist Church, which was finished in 1862. Merchant Daniel Stewart built the first building out of brick in 1855.
Ione was fortunate in that it was more than a gold town. It was also a supply center, agricultural hub and stopping place for both a rail line and stagecoaches by 1876. By this date, the population was around 600 and included a Chinatown with a population of about 100. It had expanded to four churches and general stores, a laundry, meat market, restaurant, brewery, art gallery and millinery shop. Other establishments included a druggist and barber, along with six saloons.
Construction of Preston Castle
The most imposing landmark of Ione is the Preston Castle, which was once the Preston School of Industry, built in 1894. This Romanesque Revival building, situated on 230 acres, was built to rehabilitate youthful offenders. Sandstone for the building was obtained from a quarry six miles from the town, and the bricks were made at Folsom and San Quentin prisons. Train cars delivered the bricks by rail. Each car held 6,000. Two thousand five hundred people attended the laying of the cornerstone for the building on December 23, 1890.
The railroad completion and centennial of the country in 1876 were reason for celebration for the residents of Ione. Over the years, it became known as the “Ione Homecoming” and is still celebrated almost every year in the month of May.
Ione Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyer
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Photo attribution: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ione_City_Centenary_Church.jpg courtesy of Rotatebot
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston_School_of_Industry#/media/File:Preston_Castle_1.jpg Courtesy of Slick-o-bot