OFF ROUTE 66 : An Adventure to Calico Ghost Town
There's no argument that Calico is a real ghost town. Established in 1881, Calico produced $86 million in silver and $45 million in borax during its glory years. At its height, the town boasted a population of 1,200, 22 saloons, a "Chinatown," and a well-known red light district. When the price of silver plummeted in the 1890's, the town survived on borax revenues until its official death in 1907.
Calico's ghosts slumbered on its barren desert hillside until 1951, when a man named Walter Knott purchased the real estate upon which it sat. The same entrepreneur who founded Knott's Berry Farm, Walter Knott set out to make Calico not only amazing, which it was already, but also amusing, which is why if you visit today, you can tour a crooked house and witness a staged gunfight.
You can take a train ride, and you can look down over an expansive view of the Mojave Desert. Calico is a delightful patchwork, the product of a checkered past, all woven together into a sight worth seeing. It's right off Interstate 15 near Yermo, between Barstow and Baker. Are you heading for Death Valley or Las Vegas? Stop by Calico as you head east from Los Angeles, and prepare to be… amazed, amused, and confused.