Flashback Friday - Calico Ghost Town

Margaret and I visited the Calico Ghost Town during our California/Grand Canyon trip on Saturday, July 21, 1990. It's 10 miles north of Barstow along I-15.

The entrance in 1990

Calico Ghost Town
36600 Ghost Town Road
Yermo, CA 92398

Part of the San Bernardino County Regional Park system
****Mines in the Calico area are extremely hazardous and must not be approached for any reason!

When we were there, parking was $4 and it was $1 to take the tram to the top to reach the town. It was very, very hot, 105 or 106 degrees. We went into the souvenir shop first and bought a book about the town. Then we strolled around and saw such sights as the fire engine, Hank’s Hotel, and the train.

Calico lives again
Under the auspices of Knott’s berry Farm
Buena Park, Calif., buildings shall be rebuilt
on their original sites.
Walter Knott is dedicating Calico Ghost
Town to the memory of the heroic silver
miners who lived and toiled here.
The preservation of this singular
California heritage is also dedicated to
you, the visitor, as a constant source of
learning and enjoyment.
Please respect this historical property.

Walter Knott

During the tram ride, we learned a little bit about the history of the town. Silver was first discovered there in 1881. In fifteen years of mining, millions of dollars of silver were taken from the hills. In 1896, the price of silver dropped so low that they could no longer mine profitably, so the mines were closed and Calico became a ghost town. In 1950, Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park bought the old town site to restore and preserve a bit of the old west. In 1966, he gave it to the county of San Bernardino and they have made it one of their parks. The Calico and Odessa Railroad takes visitors around to where the miners and their families used to live. In town, there’s Hard Rock Harry’s Mystery Shack, a house of optical illusion where laws of gravity are defied, a new shooting gallery, and the school house.

The Calico Fire Engine

Near the fire engine, there is a plaque that reads: “Built May 12, 1896. Steam-driven pumps replaced the bucket brigades and hand-operated fire pumps commonly used in the 1830’s and before. This is a LaFrance steam engine which was widely used from the 1860’s until about 1910. First drawn by three horses, they were later pulled by gasoline-powered tractors. Water source was a hose in a nearby well or lake. This model was in use during the San Francisco disaster of 1906.


Fast Facts:

Calico produced over $20 million in silver with its 500 mines in 12 years

Walter Knott restored all but 5 of the original buildings

Calico is State Historical Landmark 782

Was proclaimed to be California's Silver Rush Ghost Town in 2005 by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger


Calico has shops, restaurants, and camping, and activities including mountain bike trails and off-road vehicles

Activities include:

Lucy Lane Museum with artifacts, photographs, and documents
Maggie Mine, exploring an authentic silver mine from the 1880s
Calico Odessa Railroad
Mystery Shack Tour - optical illusions
Gold panning
Ghost Tours - every Saturday night

There are also such events as Civil War re-enactments, Bluegrass in the Spring in 2016, Ghost Haunts near Halloween and more. Check the Calico Ghost Town website for details

Calico Ghost Town - http://cms.sbcounty.gov/parks/Parks/CalicoGhostTown.aspx

According to the website, admission is $8, youth (6-15) $5, and under 5 for free, also dogs are $1 (disabled assistance dogs are free) and must be on a 6 foot leash at all times

Calico Attractions - https://www.calicoattractions.com/

Calico Ghost Town Desert USA - http://www.desertusa.com/desert-california/calico-ghost-town.html

Have you been to the Calico Ghost Town recently and what is it like now? What are some more fun stops in California that aren't on a typical itinerary?

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