Calico Ghost Town


Calico Ghost Town is about 10 miles northeast of Barstow.  Silver was discovered here in 1881, and the town swelled to 1,200 people in 1887.  The area became one of the richest in the state, producing $86 million in silver and $45 million in borax.  But, by 1890, there were only 80 people left. 

About one-third of the buildings in the town are original (Lilís Saloon, Calico Park Office, Lucy Laneís House, Zenda Mining Company, Laneís General Store); the others were reconstructed on the original town building sites.  Most of the buildings now house shops or restaurants, so this is more a tourist town than a ghost town.  Even so, a visit is worthwhile, giving one a better feel for what these old mining towns were like when there was more than just a handful of decrepit old buildings.

Lucy Lane arrived in the Calico area as a 10 year-old in 1884 with her miner father George Valentine King.  In 1893, she married John Robert Lane, the superintendent of the town water works.  They bought the general store, but with most of the mines closed by the late 1890s, they had few paying customers.  They closed the store in 1899 and moved away, eventually to Barstow.  Lucy returned to Calico after Walter Knott had bought most of the town and began transforming it into a tourist attraction.  Her home is now used as a small museum, and an interesting array of old clothes hangs from the rafters of Laneís General Store.


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