Somewhere around the age of twelve, my parents introduced me to my first ghost town. Then and there, I not only fell in love with Calico and her rustic personality, but all ghost towns regardless of location and the various histories surrounding them.
|Calico Ghost Town by Enrico Stirl Germaneon|
High in the hills, just outside the very small town of Yermo, California, (which is not far from Barstow), sits the mining town of Calico, founded in the year 1881. The townsfolk completely abandoned the place in 1907 when the silver and borax mines no longer produced sufficient quantities to keep the town alive. During Calico's heydey, one could count at least five hundred different mines, dine in three restaurants, rent rooms in various boarding houses, read a weekly newspaper, visit bars, brothels, and a post office. The town had a deputy sheriff and a couple of constables, as well. Over twelve hundred people populated the town at the height of its silver production. And of course, like so many small towns in the wild, wild, west, the Boot Hill Cemetery housed its share of local bad guys.
In 1915, they built a cyanide plant at Calico, to recover the unprocessed silver from the Silver King Mine. Despite the existence of the plant, the town didn't recover. Yet, as fate would have it, Walter Knott, (founder of the famous Knott's Berry Farm) assisted in building the tanks used for the plant. He must have seen something he liked, because in 1951 he bought the town and with the use of old photographs, began to restore it to its former glory. Visitors came in droves and many of those visitors experienced far more than the amazing restoration of the property. You see, it's not uncommon for a tourist to report an encounter with one of the former, other-worldly residents...