About Preston Laboratory
In addition to the park grounds, the land is home to Preston Laboratories, Dr. Frank W. Preston’s research complex. Now a historical site, originally it was a glass science laboratory.
A pdf with period photos of the laboratory is also available.
The following information is from Kevin Lukacs article, “Preston Park,” from the Butler County Historical website.
“Frank Preston, born in England in 1896, came to the United States in 1920 to work in the glass industry as a scientist and researcher. During his career, he pioneered technologies that tested glass durability and quality. These techniques are still in use today. His wife Jane, an American, was a large part of his work as a conservationist.
In 1936, Frank Preston made the decision to start his own company, Preston Laboratories. He purchased the original sixty-six acres of land in Meridian in 1936. Prior to purchase the area consisted of only small farms and woods. His goal was always to make the area as scenic as possible. The original buildings on the property were used as a research lab, a chemistry lab, a physics lab, a machine shop, and an admin building, among others. Above the main laboratory building was a small apartment occupied by a caretaker. The first caretaker, Hayes Perkins, designed the layout for the original landscape of Preston, including planting trees in geometric shapes. After Perkins passed away, the Prestons moved into the apartment and resided there until their death.
Preston Laboratories was a small operation, employing fifty to seventy-five employees, but successful. In 1959, Frank Preston sold his business to American Glass Research, a company founded by two former employees of Preston Labs. The company still claims the creation of Preston Laboratories as their founding date, and has offices in Butler and Ohio. Preston Laboratories officially shut down in 1959. Frank Preston continued consulting in the glass industry, and changed the sign on his gate to “Meridian Research Center.” After his retirement Frank wanted to build a large estate, but Jane wouldn’t have it. The only evidence of this abandoned project is the wrought iron gate that stands just off of South Eberhart Road, before the entrance to the park.”A