Thursday, October 16, 2008

Calico Ghost Town

Today we are going to venture off the farm while still remaining on topic. Off we go to Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, Ca. If you appreciate the ghost town at Knott’s then Calico Ghost Town is a must see. This past weekend was “Calico Days” and I have some photos and Knott’s references to share from my visit on Saturday.

“Calico was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town. At its height, Calico boasted a population of 1,200 people, and over 500 silver mines. During the mid 1890s the price of silver dropped and Calico's silver mines were no longer economically viable. With the end of borax mining in the region in 1907 the town became completely abandoned. In 1951, Walter Knott, purchased the town and began restoring it to its original condition referencing old photographs and recreating replicas of many of the original buildings on their preexisting foundations. In 1966, Walter Knott donated the re-built town to San Bernardino County.”

There are many similarities between Calico and the Ghost Town at KBF. Calico has peek ins, a bottle house, a mystery shack (similar to the Haunted Shack that was once at KBF), and a host of other old west buildings that are outfitted in the same manner as the original attractions at the Berry Farm.

”Dedication Plaque, Signed by our favorite farmer”

“Calico’s Bottle House, Built around the same time as the one at Knott’s Berry Farm”

“Calico’s Peek Ins, Very reminiscent of the Peek Ins at KBF. I did not get good interior photos but see below for a shot from inside the Maggie Mine office that shows the Walter Knott touch that these displays feature”

“A familiar statue of a prospector with his mule”

“Walter and Cordelia beside the Calico dedication plaque”

I hope you have enjoyed the brief tour of Calico. I plan to feature more of Calico in upcoming posts. Next week we will return to the farm to feature some of the original structures that can still be seen there.

Take care for now, and Thanks for Readin’


Chris Merritt said...

Actually - I would say more of a Paul von Klieben touch! He (re)designed most of Calico! Not that Walter or his family weren't just as involved, of course...

ockid said...

Calico is certainly worth a visit for anyone nostalgic for old Knott's Berry Farm.

You can find a little more Knott's history in the Orange County section on my website:

Keep those posts coming!

Phil B.

Let's Talk Knott's said...

Thanks for the input Chris. I have only recently learned about people like Paul von Klieben and Bud Hurlbut that were major creative forces behind the development of the attractions at the Berry Farm. I do have to say that I really enjoy Paul Von Klieben's work. Great to know he did Calico too!

"OCkid" I am a big fan of your website and have spent quite some time looking at your pictures. I especially enjoy the then and now shots. It was thanks to your site that I learned that the "El Camino Real" Arch that used to lead to the mission dioramas still exists in an unseen corner of the park.

TokyoMagic! said...

Great info and great pics! I have never been to Calico, but I have always been a little curious.....expecially after having worked at Knott's. I had no idea that it was this nice. Now I will have to plan a trip to see it. Thank you!

FV Tom said...

When I was a kid in the late 60s, early 70s, we used to go camping at Calico. My brother and I had a blast running through town, guns ablazin', etc.!

FV Tom said...

Forgot to add: Congrats on the blog. Can't wait to read more.

Theatre of Objects said...

There are some fullscreen virtual tours of Calico here:

Thought you guys might enjoy them :-)