BACKSTORY: Calico is an old West mining town that has been around since 1881 during the largest silver strike in California. With its 500 mines, Calico produced over $20 million in silver ore over a 12-year span. When silver lost its value in the mid-1890's, Calico lost its population. The miner's packed up, loaded their mules and moved away abandoning the town that once gave them a good living. It became a "ghost town." Walter Knott (Knott’s Berry Farm) purchased the Calico ghost town in 1951 and restored all but five original buildings to look as they did in the 1880's. 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 entrance sign shown below says “This museum was created in order to outline for you the atmosphere of a small part of the Old West which was called Calico, and which flourished as a boom-town through the years 1891-1896. The spirit of the Calico of those days reflected closely the spirit of the west in general–therefore, it is hoped that the scenes and exhibits presented with will add not only to your enjoyment and understanding of this colorful historic site, but also of that entire western era and of the way it used to be.”