Calico Ghost Town was the last stop on our 2006 California Expedition. Calico was first established in 1881 when it came to prominence with the mining boom. These hills were loaded with silver, yielding $20 million in silver ore in just over a decade. Silver ran out and so did the folks of Calico. Today, Calico still stands with over 500 mines and restored buildings (all but five of the original). The San Bernardino County website states, “Calico received State Historical Landmark 782 and in 2005 was proclaimed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be California’s Silver Rush Ghost Town.”
The team was tired. We were at the tail end of a physically exhausting trip. We had traveled to the sweltering depths of Death Valley National park where no water is enough water. The team then quickly ascended Mount Whitney – the tallest peak in the contiguous US. Lastly, we hiked through and were dwarfed by the giants of Sequoia National Park. Now, we would endure one of the tackiest, most cornball destinations in the West. This is California’s Calico Ghost Town.
My favorite Calico story comes from Len Wilcox’s article at DesertUSA.com:
Calico was a wild place in its heyday with a nice collection of saloons (22 of them), bordellos, restaurants and boarding houses established to service the needs of its more than 1,200 citizens. One citizen was unusual, even in a time and a town full of unusual characters. Dorsey was a mail carrier. In fact, he was the only 4-legged carrier in the whole US Postal system. He was a black-and-white shepherd dog that had the job of carrying the mail from Calico to the nearby mines. He was a friendly dog, but once the mail packs were strapped on his back, he’d become strictly business. Reportedly, Dorsey’s owner once turned down a $500 offer for the dog, saying that he’d sooner sell a grandson.