Saturday, January 19, 2013
Calico, California December 23, 2012
Directions and general information: Calico is located 13 miles east of Barstow, California, off of Interstate 15. It is a recreated ghost town. The Knott family purchased the townsite in 1950. By 1966 Calico had been restored to former glory. The same year, San Bernardino County brought the town creating a park. To enter it cost $7 for each adult and $3 for each child. Camping is available for $30 without hookups. In nearby mountains opportunities abound for mountain biking and off-road driving. There are two restaurants in town which offer breakfast, lunch and dinner at a modest price. The best attraction in town is the Maggie Mine tour at $3 per person.
History: In Spring of 1881 three prospectors pitched camp in the nearby mountains. On the fourth day they struck a big silver ore vein. News quickly spread throughout the west and prospectors came rushing in. Within a year a townsite prospectors had built a town site with shops, saloons, and homes. Eastern Calico became the town's Chinatown.
Production was great for 16 years before declining because of the price of silver ore. From 1880 to 1896 the huge producers were the Silver King, Bismark, Waterloo and Occidental mines. They produced over $86 million worth of silver. Solid rock formations in the surrounding made working conditions favorable where miners were able to tunnel without having to timber the sides and roof. The prosperity would not last because the mines were linked to the price of their own product. In 1880 the price of silver was worth about $1.29 per ounce. By 1896 it had fallen to 53 cents when the mines closed and Calico dried up.(Information from Calico Ghost Town California's Greatest Silver Camp Copyright Knotts Berry Farm)