Saturday, April 30, 2016

Calico Ghost Town, 4/25/2016

Located a short distance northeast of Barstow, CA, Calico was a silver mining boom town that started in 1881. $86 million in silver and $45 million in borax was produced here with a population of about 1,200. At that time there were 22 saloons, China Town, and a red light district. 

Over 500 mines drove the wealth in Calico from 1881 to 1907 until the price of silver dropped from $1.31/ounce to $.63. At that point most of the citizens of Calico left. The remains of some of the mines can be seen in the nearby hills. 

It was restored by Walter Knott (of Knottsberry Farm fame] beginning in 1951 and then donated to San Bernadino County in 1966. Below is a bust of Knott on display in the town.

Today, it is one of the few remaining original mining towns of the west. There are 5 original buildings and 26 restored ones that house small museums, shops, and restaurants. 

Artifacts from the town can be seen in various buildings, including the first bathtub owned by a private citizen!

An exhibit of mining operations and access to an underground mine tour is available in the Maggy Mining building. This is a dog-friendly place and we were allowed to take Sadie with us on the tour that was $3/adults; dogs free. 

Also near the mining building is a narrated train ride (8-minutes, $4/adults) that also permitted Sadie to accompany us. She loved it and so did we. 

China Town was the home to approximately 40 Chinese who provided laundry, bath and meal services to the miners. 

Because building materials were scarce here in the 1880s, many miners lived in their mining claim or built a cabin at the entrance. Also, there is house built of bottles that has some interesting design features!


The school house has been restored and is seen here. The interior has artifacts of the late 1800s. Sadie and I attempted to to pose as two school kids, but I had a hard time holding her and getting my head in the right spot! Nonetheless, this photo made me laugh!

It was very windy the day we visited, so was quite chilly. Be prepared for the weather when you visit. Also, the admission fee is $8/adult and there are several attractions where an additional fee is charged. Regardless, we love learning more about the Old West and we enjoyed being able to have our doggy, Sadie, accompany us on our visit.

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