Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Preston Castle Was Compared To Spreckels Palace

Post Card- Spreckel's Mansion
Let me first say that during the writing of my book, I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. I have made a few revisions in my first publication of the book, as far as editing grammatical errors that were overlooked. In my research to provide the most accurate information pertaining to any and all history of the Preston School of Industry, I have learned that I misquoted something in my book that I wanted to make sure is fixed. So, I am taking it upon myself to clarify this very easily misunderstood information and make note on this blog that I plan to update this in future copies of the book.

What mistake was made, you may ask?

You see, in the beginning of my book I mention an 1895 article in the San Francisco Call, where writer Joaquin Miller compared the beautiful stonework of the Preston School to that of the "Spreckels Palace" in San Francisco.  Well, at the time of researching this information, the only " Palace" I could find that the Spreckels family was involved in was the Palace of the Legion of Honor. My mistake was not checking the date of construction of that building, as I would have immediately noticed it was built after Preston Castle, not before. For that I apologize.

So then, what was this "Palace" that Joaquin Miller  was talking about? Well, Miller called it Spreckels Palace but in actuality it was known as the Spreckels Chateau or Spreckels Mansion (not to be confused with the one in San Diego bearing the same name). This mansion was located on the corner of Van Ness and Clay Streets in San Francisco. It had been built in the 1880s, about a decade before Preston was built.  In retrospect, this makes more sense being that the Palace of the Legion of Honor doesn't have any similarities to Preston at all. This mansion does however show similar style and grand design as well as its use of stonework.

So what happened to the Spreckels Chateau? Unfortunately it was damaged by a fire after the great earthquake in 1906 when the army decided to create a fire break in order to curb the fire at Van Ness Street,  and was dynamited. Even after such damage the structure remained intact although the insides were gutted. Sadly, in 1927 it was finally demolished entirely and turned into apartments which still stand to this day. What an architectural tragedy.

Demolition 1927
 -- J'aime Rubio (Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved). 

Photos: by the California State Library, California History Room
via Calisphere, California Historical Society, State Archives and historical post card.

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