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. Suddenly, it rises like a fairytale castle: a large Spanish Revival structure. Search for a topic, destination or article, We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. Visitors are free to explore its spooky remains, but there are no kitschy reenactments, restaurants, or shops selling … We’ve all enjoyed watching old Westerns with cowboys, cattle rustlers, saloon brawls, train and stage coach robberies, and street gun fights… the … Calico’s second wind would come in 1951, when Walter Knott, whose uncle had made his fortune with a Calico mine, bought the collection of dilapidated shacks and mines that were left. Pioneertown’s influx of young residents has driven some people away. The town has grown over the years, now boasting around 14,000 people. A booming mining town established in 1859 during the discovery of a major silver deposit called the Comstock Lode, the town was named after Virginia miner James “Old Virginny” Finney. In 1966, he donated the restored—and heavily sanitized—town to the county of San Bernardino. It also boasted an alarmingly high number of gunfighters, brothels, and all other manner or Wild West shenanigans. Rawhide Wild West Town, Chandler Rawhide Western Town & Event Center/Facebook A Western-themed amusement park, Rawhide has attractions such as live gun shows, gold panning, and chances to rides horses or burros. Sounded like a real roller coaster ride. At home, at school, or on the road, we offer a great selection of games! Some of them were abandoned en masse, while in others people left gradually until no one was left. They went boom, then bust, but some of the desert’s early settlements haven’t entirely disappeared. At dusk, an Oldsmobile driver turns his bright lights on to go down a perfectly straight road, with not a building or second car in sight. Remnants of Doge’s days of infamy are alive and well, however, with the Longbranch Saloon and Gospel Hill accessible via trolley ride. mobile app. Inspired by the explosive growth of the San Fernando Valley, in 1958 he bought 82,000 acres of desert wasteland, intent on making it into the ideal industrialized American metropolis. How to Create a Genuine Looking Old Wild West Town Scene. Western Towns - Our Top 10 True Western Towns - What makes a True Western Town? And the gaudy colors in the mineral stained mountains which formed a backdrop for it all reminded someone of a piece of calico. From storied ghost towns and and hardy, striking flora to iconic Palm Springs hot spots, we’re celebrating the divine desert landscape in LA’s backyard. Read time: 9 mins. 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. 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. Here’s a guide to five ghost towns near Mojave. During the 1980s and ’90s, Kelso became a virtual ghost town, with only a few residents. When you visit us you will learn about late 19th-century farming tools, period dressmaking, blacksmithing, and much more. Top 10 Wild West towns in America . Mane Street is a friendly place, not a grimacing desperado in sight. In the 1970s, the construction of new highways made Route 66 obsolete, and Amboy’s fortunes fell. Anywhere that calls itself the “Rodeo Capital of the World” should probably be on your Wild West bucket list. The rudimentary depot first opened in 1905 to aid Union Pacific trains chugging across the desert to and from Las Vegas. Below are our five favorite California desert ghost towns. In the 1950s, it was reinvented by Walter Knott, the very man who brought us Knotts Berry Farm. The once-bustling depot was closed by Union Pacific in 1985. According to the LA Times: An ambitious street system was designed and roads were cut into the brush, making the grid that can now be seen from the air. There are a whopping 17 museums, among them the mining and blacksmithing Way It Was Museum, Courthouse Slammer & County Museum, and the Comstock Gold Mill. “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. CANYON DIABLO, ARIZONA Nowhere in the Southwest was there a more violent place than the railroad town of Canyon Diablo, giving it the top spot on our list of the meanest Wild West towns. Wild West Town is a wild west themed amusement park in Illinois. The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” wafts through the air. Don't worry about being challenged to an old-fashioned gunfight at high noon, though. But it’s not nearly enough people to fill even a fraction of the land. Several gambling halls in the town keep Deadwood alive and there is plenty for visitors to do including touring several historical buildings which have been restored to their original … By 1969, the year Mendelsohn pulled out amid a torrent of lawsuits and government investigations, California City had only 1,700 residents. “I fell in love with the desert,” he said, echoing the sentiments of those who still called Kelso home. Kelso Depot 90942 Kelso Cima Road Kelso, CA 92306. Three hours east of Los Angeles, this small settlement in the Mojave started off as a railroad community. For true history buffs, you can actually visit the graves of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane at Mount Moriah Cemetery. Mellonsfolly Ranch was … Okaton – A Prairie Ghost Town Chandler – Last Gunfight of the Old West. Along with the silver boom in Creede, so came the boom of Ouray. 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. Like many Wild West towns, Virginia City has a trolley tour that brings you through the major landmarks. Most of the outdoor scenes were shot elsewhere, but these are a couple of places to go that have their roots in the Old West He promised to restore and reopen Roy’s, a goal which he seems to have minimally accomplished. There are roads laid out in a perfect grid. The mines in Oatman were some of the largest in the West, and even after those mines dried up, the town became a popular pit stop for visitors traveling along Route 66. By the mid-1930s, only four residents were left. Across the street from the depot, the old post office is boarded up. Shaniko – Wool Capitol of the World. You also have to stop in at the Ponderosa Saloon, a quirky bar that’s as Wild West as it gets. These friendly green aliens seem to outnumber the human residents of California City. 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. If you are looking for the best Wild West towns and activities, then this article will give you some great tips! A hub for the meatpacking industry, Dodge hosts the Dodge City Days annual festival — a 10-day festival featuring a longhorn cattle drive and the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. Americans have always had a fascination with the Wild West. There are lots ideal for middle-class family homes. But the boom, as nearly always, was followed by a bust. Driving through California City today is an eerie experience. Founded in 1877 by prospector Ed Schiefflein, who discovered silver in the area, Tombstone was the setting of perhaps the most legendary event in Wild West history: the Gunfight at the O.K. 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). 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. Roy’s closed and much was abandoned, including the elementary school, now a fenced-in ruin. The Wild West represents a unique period in the growth of the US, when borders were being expanded and new lands discovered during the late 19th century. Of course, steam locomotives needed water. 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 … By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. 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. 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. Nowadays the town has shed its gunfighting reputation and leaned into its cattle history. 21000 Hacienda Boulevard California City, CA 93505. Hickock was shot and killed in Deadwood while holding the infamo… In 1924, the grand Spanish Revival Kelso Depot and Clubhouse opened. Instead of housing drunkards and crooks, the old Silverton jail is home to the San Juan County Historical Society Mining Heritage Center. Ever have the hankering to experience a post-apocalyptic 1950s-kitschy hellscape? It has a walk-in bank vault from 1964, as well as an abandoned gold mine underneath the bar. The story does have a happy ending, however, as Oatman eventually gained her freedom. And there are real estate signs, dotting the empty roads, stuck in the weedy, barren lots, advertising that the land is for sale. Those that didn’t, that outlived their usefulness yet still exist, are now faded snapshots of the time and place when they were at their best. Calcium borate (borax) was found shortly after. All attractions and rides for one admission fee. Well, there’s history, of course. A popular pit stop for hikers to take an, um, “lode” off along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, South Pass City is one of Wyoming’s most highly trafficked Old West ghost towns. You’ve probably heard of some of Deadwood’s most famous residents, like Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock. The town was fast abandoned, leaving behind a bygone relic. Oregon. 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. Here’s why. In 1881, John McBryde and Lowery Silver discovered silver ore in the dusty mountains near Wall Street Canyon. What looks like a food truck is parked in the driveway, the words “Research Flat Earth” painted on its side. Its biggest claim to fame wasn’t precious metal, however, but its red light district, which featured dance halls, saloons, and bordellos. And while the gold mine might be all dried up, you can still take the Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour, which lets you ride an electric mine train into the Galena Mountain, and watch immersive mining demos that use authentic machines dating back nearly 100 years. Speaking of not quitting your day job, gambling is still alive and well in Deadwood, though it’s evolved somewhat from backroom poker games to more modern establishments. Some, like Palm Springs, flourished, but countless others failed. An authentic mining ghost town that hosted more than 60 saloons and dance halls at its peak, its decay has been frozen by park authorities. One faux-aged wooden marker reads: Here lies Jerimiah Mountain Man 1928-2005. Not all names will be as grim as the latter two though, as there are plenty of more pleasant sounding names, as well as many variations in between. Who knew a deserted, rough-and-tumble mining boomtown in the Wild West could be so delightful? U.S. Route 66 (US 66, Route 66) is a part of a former United States Numbered Highway in the state of California that ran from the west in Santa Monica on the Pacific Ocean through Los Angeles and San Bernardino to Needles at the Arizona state line. The working post office shares an aged building with the town’s fake sheriff’s office, complete with a dummy and a makeshift jail. Once they arrived, they saw a massive infrastructure campaign in progress, which would eventually make California City the third-largest city in the state by landmass, a title which it still holds. South Dakota. 87520 National Trail Highway Amboy CA, 92304. One was the boarded-up depot’s caretaker O.B. The motel is owned by two millennial brothers named Matt and Mike French, and rooms are often booked months in advance. Say “howdy” to one heck of a smoking-hot deal straight out of the Wild West. Settlements were raised in the dry and unaccommodating desert for many reasons. However, there's still plenty of chances to step back in time. There is much to see in California City, in the Kern County desert, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Like many towns that boomed during the late 1800s, Oatman rose to prominence as a gold mining town. Fittingly, Schieffelin called the town “Tombstone” because he was initially told he would find nothing there but his own tombstone. It earned a reputation as one of the most sinful towns in the West by the end of the 1800s. And if you happen to be visiting the “Rodeo Capital of the World” between June 1 and August 31, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t see a rodeo. Cody is the home of Buffalo Bill, the showman famous for his “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” shows, which are credited with the popularization and proliferation of rodeos. Some have been re-purposed, some glamorized, some left to rot. Behind the post office is a small wood-frame house, where it appears someone still resides. Soon a post office, cafeteria, and rudimentary homes for Union Pacific workers and prospectors sprang up in the isolated spot. This must be how 20th-century passengers on the Union Pacific felt when they first saw the railroad depot in Kelso. The promise of wealth lured outlaws, gamblers, and gunslingers who transformed the town into a vibrant and often dangerous place. 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. A half-hour guided tour will bring you through the mine shaft, which has proven to be one of the town’s most popular tourist draws. Who knew a deserted, rough-and-tumble mining boomtown in the Wild West could be so delightful? 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. 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. 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. One of the most famous Wild West towns in the country is Deadwood, South Dakota. In 2005, the restored depot was opened as the visitor center for Mojave National Preserve. Complete with a false-facade Old West Mane Street (pun intended), comfortable motel, and stables, Pioneertown served as a location for more than 50 movies and TV shows. These aren’t Wild West ghost towns but more recent vestiges of the 20th century. The shootout pitted Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan Earpp and Doc Holliday against Ike and Billy Clanton, Billy Claiborne, and Tom and Frank McLaury. Next door is the glassed-in hotel lobby, its cracked Mad Men-esque furniture fading in the sun. “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. 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. 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. Okura has a soft spot for Americana; he also bought the refurbished, original McDonald’s in San Bernardino. In addition to the trail, you can check out the Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indians Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, and the Cody Firearms Museum. You can even pan for gold at the Lost Boot Mine, but don’t expect to strike it rich. 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. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. The gunfights, rodeos, tumbleweeds, and dusty saloons of America’s untamed frontier might sound like cinematic tropes, but they’re also a very real part of the country’s history. 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. The era referred to as the Old Wild West began following the Civil War in 1865. Wild West in Los Angeles . When you pull into Amboy today, the first thing you notice is the music. 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. Calico is a desert ghost town, theme-park style. 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. Wooden boardwalks lead you alongside restored 19th-century buildings, including historic saloons, and plenty of museums. See more ideas about Wild west, Old west photos, Old west. Most look like they have been there for many years. Deadwood – Rough & Tumble Old West Town. Many lot owners, who felt they had been sold a false bill of goods, simply abandoned the land and stopped paying property taxes. Finally, a place to stretch their legs, breathe some fresh air, and have a drink or 10. The dust in the air chokes. Farther down the dirt road, a modern-day cowboy sitting a spell on the porch takes off his hat, an old-timey gesture in front of the old-timey saddle shop. In the town’s large barn, craftsmen are working. Across the street is an old post office, and an abandoned church where an organ sits in its back room, waiting to be played. Before Las Vegas and Reno, Virginia City was Nevada’s premier destination. Today, the picturesque tourist trap is all charm, with no true grit (or ghosts) in sight. At its height during World War II, the population of Kelso reached around 2,000. The entire town of Tombstone was awarded National Landmark District status in 1961, as “one of the best preserved specimens of the rugged frontier of the 1870s and 1880s.” If that’s not enough incentive to visit, it’s also nicknamed “The Town Too Tough to Die,” which is the most Wild West moniker you could possibly imagine. Just a short distance from any urban area in the Gem State is a town that looks like its been stuck in the mid 1800’s for the past 150 years. 36600 Ghost Town RoadYermo, CA 92398Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Calico. This replica ghost town looks so real, it's scary. However, the industries and factories that Mendelsohn promised to lure to the city never came. Oatman is filled with wild donkeys roaming the streets, dusty roads, and shops with old wooden porches. Waiting? Buses of potential buyers were brought to California City. More than 500 mines were soon in operation, producing the biggest silver load in California history. According to the Los Angeles Times: Calico was a rip-roaring town teeming with miners, boomers, promoters, gamblers and fortune hunters... Five thousand men swarmed up the canyons and gulches from their stone huts each morning to grab with picks and blast with powder for rich silver ore. A dog carried the mail in pouches strapped to his back. Modern Abilene has done a first-rate job of preserving those wild times, especially in its celebration last year of the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. But when Route 66 passed through town, bringing vacationers looking for a bite to eat and a photo opportunity, Amboy found its true purpose. Corral. The justice of the peace chewed tobacco and swallowed the juice. A ghost town is a term used to describe towns that failed to stand the test of time and died off the same time the gold mines stopped producing gold. Many neighborhoods have only three or four homes, with plenty of land in between. 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. One of the most famous Wild West towns in the country is Deadwood, South Dakota. This includes personalizing content and advertising. In the 19 th century, during the gold rush, towns developed in the west around the gold mines. El Reno -Home of the Oklahoma Land Rush. Sumpter – Queen City Ghost Town. Providing family fun since 1974. Sandwiched between Yosemite National Park and the Nevada border, Bodie offers a very different way to immerse yourself in the Wild West. By the 1890s, silver lost much of its value due to the discovery of bigger mines, and the dusty desert outpost was mostly deserted. These 8 Towns In Idaho Still Look Like Something Straight Out Of The Wild West. Perhaps most well-known as the setting of HBO’s popular Deadwood series, the town is now a National Historic Landmark with a wealth of preserved history. One was left for Wild West City ’ s early settlements haven ’ t entirely disappeared for remote families in. Home to Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, famous gunfighters and of. Hollywood came to the County of San Bernardino wild west towns, 'Deadwood ' and 'Tombstone.... Sociologist named Nathan K. Mendelsohn to Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane Mount. 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