You can take a ride through an old mine on a tram, pan for silver, take pot shots in the shooting gallery, and camp overnight under the Calico hills. Calico is a desert ghost town, theme-park style. The dust in the air chokes. South Dakota. But when Route 66 passed through town, bringing vacationers looking for a bite to eat and a photo opportunity, Amboy found its true purpose. The promise of wealth lured outlaws, gamblers, and gunslingers who transformed the town into a vibrant and often dangerous place. Once again, it serves as a friendly way station, selling maps, candy bars, and nostalgia to visitors battling the cruel desert sun. Before Las Vegas and Reno, Virginia City was Nevada’s premier destination. Roy’s closed and much was abandoned, including the elementary school, now a fenced-in ruin. Two of the motel rooms are open. The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, includes the geography, history, folklore, and cultural expression of life in the forward wave of American expansion that began with European colonial settlements in the early 17th century and ended with the admission of the last few territories as states in 1912. This striking landscape of arid, mountain-flanked dirt roads, peppered with clusters of oddly-shaped rocks, has doubled as the “Wild West” in countless film and TV shoots. Sandwiched between Yosemite National Park and the Nevada border, Bodie offers a very different way to immerse yourself in the Wild West. Outside, however, is an entirely different beast. In 1966, he donated the restored—and heavily sanitized—town to the county of San Bernardino. Mellonsfolly Ranch was … There is much to see in California City, in the Kern County desert, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. And on Mane Street, Old West cottages built for movies are being lived in by real people—and an art installation even adorns one private yard. Anywhere that calls itself the “Rodeo Capital of the World” should probably be on your Wild West bucket list. If you are looking for the best Wild West towns and activities, then this article will give you some great tips! Play Wild west town for free on Kizi! Mane Street is a friendly place, not a grimacing desperado in sight. The world’s love affair with America’s Wild West has always burned bright, and nothing in the country’s history compares to the period from 1865 to 1895 when prospectors and pioneers pushed their way towards better lives and scrambled for pots of gold. There are an abundance of monuments of the Wild West in Cody, most notably the Old Trail Town, which includes Wild West artifacts like Butch Cassidy’s cabin, the grave of mountain man John Johnson, a saloon frequented by the famous outlaw Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, and the home of Curley, the Indian scout who survived the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Across the street is an old post office, and an abandoned church where an organ sits in its back room, waiting to be played. Calico. Oregon. During the 1980s and ’90s, Kelso became a virtual ghost town, with only a few residents. Sure, Hollywood has dramatized the Wild West and turned it into a cinematic cliche, but that doesn’t detract from the period’s historic significance or how its cowboys, crooks, and gamblers have captured our imaginations. If you’d prefer something a little less morbid, there are plenty of period museums like the Days of 76 Museum and the Adams Museum. 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Visitors are free to explore its spooky remains, but there are no kitschy reenactments, restaurants, or shops selling … But by far the most compelling area is the Calico Graveyard, where mountaineers and prospectors from Calico’s past—and modern-day boosters and cowboys—are buried under handmade markers, their graves covered in desert rock. The settlement was born when workers laying tracks for a railroad came to the edge of the canyon, with no way to cross over until a bridge was built. “The steep 2 percent grade that trains had to climb from west of Kelso to Kessler Summit meant that extra ‘helper engines’ would need to be stationed nearby to help them up the grade,” a National Parks Service history explains. You can even pan for gold at the Lost Boot Mine, but don’t expect to strike it rich. For a break from the shootouts, take a ghost tour at the Bird Cage Theater, which was a popular 1880s drinking, gambling, and performance venue in which 26 people were reportedly killed. After gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874, people flocked to the Deadwood area to make their fortune. The iconic Roy’s Motel and Café opened in the 1930s, and for decades it was the domain of owner Buster Burris, “a rough-hewn entrepreneur with flinty eyes, sun-toasted skin and strong opinions about rowdy bikers and men with long hair.”. More than 500 mines were soon in operation, producing the biggest silver load in California history. Nowadays the town has shed its gunfighting reputation and leaned into its cattle history. That year, a group of Hollywood investors, including cowboy stars Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, Dick Curtis, Bob Nolan, Russell Hayden, and Tim Spencer, bought 13 acres of desert land 25 miles from Palm Springs. Be careful though, if you break the law in our town… Along with the silver boom in Creede, so came the boom of Ouray. These 8 Towns In Idaho Still Look Like Something Straight Out Of The Wild West. Corral and view reenactments of the famous gunfight, or even spend the day at the Tombstone Wild West Theme Park where there are daily gunfight shows (no, you don’t have to participate). Union Pacific planned to tear down the depot, but it was saved by a group of historians and environmentalists. Say “howdy” to one heck of a smoking-hot deal straight out of the Wild West. The justice of the peace chewed tobacco and swallowed the juice. Three hours east of Los Angeles, this small settlement in the Mojave started off as a railroad community. Most look like they have been there for many years. You’ve probably heard of some of Deadwood’s most famous residents, like Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock. It has a walk-in bank vault from 1964, as well as an abandoned gold mine underneath the bar. But for many 19th- and 20th-century pioneers, the desert wasn’t just a place they wanted to visit—it was a place they wanted to stay. In the 19 th century, during the gold rush, towns developed in the west around the gold mines. See if you can find the good, fallen tree nearby, rest for a moment, and think of ghost trains gliding across the unforgiving desert. A woman smiles when you peek into the windows of the adorable motel’s reception office. Like many Wild West towns, Virginia City has a trolley tour that brings you through the major landmarks. We’ve all enjoyed watching old Westerns with cowboys, cattle rustlers, saloon brawls, train and stage coach robberies, and street gun fights… the … This replica ghost town looks so real, it's scary. These friendly green aliens seem to outnumber the human residents of California City. Many neighborhoods have only three or four homes, with plenty of land in between. Wooden boardwalks lead you alongside restored 19th-century buildings, including historic saloons, and plenty of museums. The motel is owned by two millennial brothers named Matt and Mike French, and rooms are often booked months in advance. In the 1950s, it was reinvented by Walter Knott, the very man who brought us Knotts Berry Farm. Down an endless road, deep into the beautifully barren Mojave National Preserve, the wind pushes your car around, and your lips feel like parched sandpaper. Oatman is filled with wild donkeys roaming the streets, dusty roads, and shops with old wooden porches. After gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874, people flocked to the Deadwood area to make their fortune. There is a vacant, sunbaked house, with an overturned chair, peeling paint, and wallpaper that makes the walls look like a Rothko. Silverton might be the highest Wild West town in the country — and no, that’s not a swipe at Denver. A sales office and model houses were constructed, and work was started on Central Park, an 80-acre recreational area that eventually included a 20-acre lake, outdoor swimming pool, playing fields, par-three golf course, picnic areas, tennis courts, indoor sports center and community building. Los Angeles is the home of the film industry, especially during the era when many of those great old western films and television shows were made. Dodge City, was once the epicenter of the Wild West. California City was the brainchild of a dapper Czechoslovakian sociologist named Nathan K. Mendelsohn. Here’s a guide to five ghost towns near Mojave. Remnants of Doge’s days of infamy are alive and well, however, with the Longbranch Saloon and Gospel Hill accessible via trolley ride. Soon it became the lynchpin for several small towns sprouting up around the area’s largest mines. There are lots ideal for middle-class family homes. A replica Wild West town deep in rural New Zealand has been put on the market -- and if you have $7.5 million to spare, it's yours. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. At Roy’s Motel and Café, an old man sits by the gas station: is he working? Enjoy this online game wherever you go. 87520 National Trail Highway Amboy CA, 92304. At an elevation of 9,180 feet, situated between two San Juan Mountain passes, Silverton was dubbed the “Mining Town That Never Quit.” It started booming around 1873, with settlers pouring into Silverton seeking gold and silver around the creeks and rivers. “It was time for me to bug off rather than becoming that grumpy old dude trying to stop change.”, The Curbed guide to Southern California’s deserts, The Curbed guide to Southern California’s desert, In Palm Springs, a couple embraces midcentury style—and green design, An illustrated guide to Southern California’s desert plants, Arthur Elrod and the vibrant, modern interiors of Palm Springs, How to spend a weekend in and around Palm Springs. This must be how 20th-century passengers on the Union Pacific felt when they first saw the railroad depot in Kelso. One faux-aged wooden marker reads: Here lies Jerimiah Mountain Man 1928-2005. 36600 Ghost Town RoadYermo, CA 92398Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Sumpter – Queen City Ghost Town. The town was fast abandoned, leaving behind a bygone relic. The expansive structure included “a conductor’s room, telegraph office, baggage room, dormitory rooms for staff, boarding rooms for railroad crewmen, a billiard room, library and locker room.” The depot quickly became the social center of tiny Kelso, the site of “Christmas parties, square dances, church services and trials.” It was a beacon of hospitality in unforgiving terrain. Fast-forward to 2018, and new pioneers have come to town—trustafarians and Burning Man enthusiast types who co-mingle with the rough-hewn desert lizards that have long called the small community home. Soon, the new settlement of Calico in Wall Street Canyon sprang up, filled with young adventurers from places as disparate as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and China. The Silverton experience wouldn’t be complete, however, without riding on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historic coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive that travels through canyons and forest between Durango and Silverton. Kelso Depot 90942 Kelso Cima Road Kelso, CA 92306. The era referred to as the Old Wild West began following the Civil War in 1865. Also be sure to catch the Ghost Rider Gunfighters show in the town center, which takes place daily at 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM. You can visit the Oatman Jail and Museum to view the town’s old holding pens and sheriff’s office, or check out the several local shops selling classic Americana. What it was like back then: Dodge City served as a railhead for longhorns coming up from Texasto be put on a trail and shipped west. Many lot owners, who felt they had been sold a false bill of goods, simply abandoned the land and stopped paying property taxes. Sun in your face and cold drink in your hand, singing along to Creedence Clearwater Revival: Who doesn’t love a road trip to the desert? And the gaudy colors in the mineral stained mountains which formed a backdrop for it all reminded someone of a piece of calico. You can also take a walking tour along the Dodge City Trail of Fame, which commemorates the famous Wild West residents of Dodge, or kick back at Miss Kitty’s Long Branch Saloon just like the gunslingers used to do. In the town’s large barn, craftsmen are working. Soon a post office, cafeteria, and rudimentary homes for Union Pacific workers and prospectors sprang up in the isolated spot. It was once home to Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, famous gunfighters and gamblers of the West. “It is a little too crowded for me,” longtime resident Jim Austin told the New York Times last year, having just sold his home to a couple from Oakland. Calico is a desert ghost town, theme-park style. Its biggest claim to fame wasn’t precious metal, however, but its red light district, which featured dance halls, saloons, and bordellos. Most work in the local jail, at nearby Edwards Air Force Base, and in the large Boron mine to the east. Next door is the glassed-in hotel lobby, its cracked Mad Men-esque furniture fading in the sun. This includes personalizing content and advertising. Hickock was shot and killed in Deadwood while holding the infamo… The American Wild West is featured so often in Hollywood films and on TV that many of us feel like we know it very well – the cowboys, the gun … This name generator will give you 10 random names for Wild West towns and towns in similar settings. The rough-hewn wooden structures look as if they were transported from the Old West. There are few Wild West buffs who haven't heard of Deadwood, SD, and this town remains one of the true wonders of Old Wild West. Living in Idaho is like living in a time capsule. The town was named after a woman named Olive Oatman, who was kidnapped by an Apache tribe and then sold as a slave to Mohave indians. There are roads laid out in a perfect grid. Pioneertown’s influx of young residents has driven some people away. 21000 Hacienda Boulevard California City, CA 93505. Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, this picturesque mountain town, now known as the “Switzerland of America,” was once a rowdy wild west town where silver prospectors came for fast fortunes. Whether it’s about lawmen and gunfighters, ranchers and sodbusters, or railroads and boomtowns, all True Western Towns have a story to tell. Here’s why. In 2005, the restored depot was opened as the visitor center for Mojave National Preserve. Just outside of Barstow in the Mojave Desert—designated the state of California’s official “silver rush ghost town” in 2005—Calico started its life as a lawless 19th-century mining camp. Rough, rowdy and dangerous, the pioneer town became famous for the western icons who passed through, such as the saloon-keeper turned lawman Wyatt Earp. In the recreated print shop, a friendly skeleton wears an old-fashioned green visor and kitschy wanted posters of madams and madmen are displayed on the walls. If you've ever had to "get out of Dodge," you may understand what this wildest of Wild West towns was like back when Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were patrolling the streets. 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