Calico’s reputation as a ghost town is well deserved as there are numerous reports of actual ghosts being sighted. Lucy Bell King Lane, a longtime resident who ran Lucy Lane’s General Store has often been seen in her store.
Margaret Olivier, the last schoolteacher, has been seen teaching in her classroom. Tourists who have talked with Margaret thought she was part of the staff dressed in period costumes, only to find out she has been dead since 1932. There is even the ghost story of Dorsey, the shepherd dog that carried the US Mail between various mines.
Was that really the howling wind that woke us up at 3 a.m. at our Calico campsite, or was it Lucy Lane?
Just what keeps the memory of this old town alive more than a century after it was born in the midst of the mining boom of the 19th Century?
Walk down Butte Avenue and, in the middle of the block, you will surely find the answer at the Rand Desert Museum.
Founded in 1943 and given over to Kern County in 1948, the museum is the heart and soul of the old town.
When Kern County couldn’t bear the expense of maintaining the museum, it was given back to Randsburg proper.
To this day it is run by the residents of the Rand Mining District.
Even more that a hundred years later, there remains life in these hallowed hills.
This year, the 16th Annual Old West Day took place right on the main drag thru town, Butte Avenue.
I like big buttes, I cannot lie…
John Cushenbury aimed to hit it big, and looking back, he did. A prospector and miner in 1860, Cushenbury discovered silver in the limestone deposit where Mitsubishi Cement Plant is now situated. Hopefully the next silver baron in California, Cushenbury set up a mining camp at the springs below his deposit. When word got out about the discovery the local desert came alive with dreams of grandeur that prospecting brings. Little did he imagine that someday his strike would result in a mega-million dollar kingdom of cement…