Calico Ghost Town

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Calico Ghost Town
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Added: 17-02-2009
Runtime: 3m 21s
Views: 3957
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If you've never been to a ghost town, California is a great place to find one. In fact, many of these abandoned mining communities, which thrived during the late 1800s, are now popular tourist attractions. Veronica Hill of California Travel Tips tours the dusty streets of Calico, and learns more about life in the Old West. Located 10 miles north of Barstow, Calico Ghost Town in Yermo was named for the rainbow-colored hills that produced one of the richest silver strikes in California history. This was a wild and wooly place with 22 saloons, its own red light district and several fine restaurants. The Calico Hotel, run by Mrs. E.L. Hazen, promised a generous welcome, first-class meals, and reasonable rates. (The original hotel is no longer standing) By 1887, there were 1,200 people living in Calico. Children of local merchants and miners attended the one-room Calico School, which sometimes doubled for church service on Sundays. Back in 1885, school teachers made about $80-$100 a month and children played games like marbles, ball and bean bag toss. Plan on a full day to explore this historic ghost town. You can relax on a rocking chair, play a game of checkers on the porch, or enjoy some good-old fashioned gold panning. Around lunchtime, grab a cool Sarsparilla and lunch plate at the Calico House Restaurant, then tour the bath house, where you'll find antique tubs, a laundry press and old west kitchen. The Blacksmith shop is home to several antique tools and equipment. Along the East Calico Hiking Trail, you'll find unique cabins carved into the rocky hillsides. Lumber was scarce, so hard rock miners were creative, sometimes even using bottles as building materials. On the Calico & Odessa narrow gauge railway, we learned that Calico had 10 major mines and more than 30 miles of underground passages. Today, the only mine safe enough to enter is the Maggie Shaft. Here, you can explore 1,000 feet of tunnel, check out the Glory Hole, and view the former sleeping dugout of miner John Mulcahy. Calico began its life in 1881 and produced more than $20 million in silver. One of Calico's most profitable mines was the Silver King. An additional $9 million in borax was harvested from Calico's Mule Canyon, where the company town of Borate was established. (This was the last place in California where Twenty Mule teams were used). Calico was deserted by the 1930s, when mining was no longer profitable. Walter Knott purchased the crumbling town in 1951 for $13,500, restoring it to its former glory. Today, Calico has five surviving original buildings. They include the Park Office, Lane's General Store, and Lil's Saloon. (Has an ATM). The Zenda Mining Company building is now home to a fortune teller. To learn more about Calico Ghost Town history, visit the Lucy Lane Home, built in 1887. This was once Calico's Post Office, Courthouse and in 1920, the private home of Lucy and John Lane. Today, it's a museum where you can view historic photos and some of the Lane's old belongings, including an antique dresser, an iceless cooler from 1918, and a miner's carbide lamp. Despite its rustic appearance, Calico takes credit cards and there are several ATMs on site. You can even go camping for the night at Calico's campgrounds or bunkhouse. And Calico is pet friendly! Be sure to stay until dusk, when the park closes. You can grab a cold beer and burger at Calico's Old Miner's Cafe, then watch the stunning Mojave sunset. It's a magical way to end a day in the California desert.

Channels: Travel & Events 

Tags: 15    attractions    Barstow    borax    bottle    bunkhouse    Calico    California    campground    camping    Desert    friendly    gauge    Ghost    gold    hotel    hotels    house    Interstate    Las    mine    miners    mines    mining    Mojave    narrow    panning    park    pet    railway    regional    restaurant    restaurants    ride    rush    silver    tour    tours    town    towns    train    Vegas    Victorville    Yermo 

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