|Calico...never will you see a more wretched hive of scum and villainy|
The structures constructed during this time ranged from standard wooden construction, typical of 19th century houses and businesses, to stone structures that integrated the slopes and cliffs into their structure.
And, of course, there was no shortage of mining structures and equipment, including machinery such as a stamp mill.
|Remember - it's not an exploitative Hell hole that OSHA would shut down anymore, it's historic!|
In 1915, an attempt was made to recover unclaimed silver from the old mines, using cyanidation (a metallurgical process for the extraction ore using the chemical properties for cyanide). While this did result in the brief resurgence of silver mining, it did not cause Calico to boom again.
In 1951, Walter Knott, of Knott's Berry Farm, bought Calico and began restoring many of the buildings. While the purchase of historic buildings by the wealthy is hardly unusual, this was a unique turn in two ways: 1) Walter Knott had, as a young man, been a local homesteader and helped to build the cyanidation facilities, and 2) he turned it into a historic park with restored buildings, repaired or re-built based on old plans and photographs, and donated it to the County of San Bernardino in 1966.
|See, tacky Halloween decorations|
While the buildings may have been restored to a close resemblance of their historic grandeur, the town is more tourist attraction than ghost town. While it does serve to teach a visitor a bit about local history, it also has numerous souvenir shops and chachki stands that don't exactly stand up to historical scrutiny. Oh, and if you happen to visit in October, as I did, you will witness numerous tacky "spooky" plastic skeletons and ghosts arranged about the place, further removing the historicity of the place.
Nonetheless, if you poke around outside of the central town portion and walk on some of the other paths, you will find the remains of buildings that have not been rebuilt, as well as some that have been rebuilt faithfully in ways that don't romanticize the old west.
|The solution to California's high housing costs!|
Oh, and if you visit, be sure to check out the cemetery. It is fascinating both in terms of the tombstones, and of the construction of the graves themselves. Observe: