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Here’s the deal: relics of an almost forgotten time only remembered through Hollywood’s very loosely-adapted Western classics, rotted and rusted – typewriters, cash registers, p.o. boxes, horse-drawn carriages – are littered all over, amidst whatever skeletons are left of this old silver-mining town and the considerably cheaper, wild western version of Disneyworld (cotton candy, fake gold panning, coin-pressing machines, the works!) on what used to be Calico’s downtown/red light district/main street. There are only 9 residents left in this town today but everyday from 9 to 5, tour buses and SUVs pile into its dirt parking lot and tourists from China to France walk its streets to “experience” how life was like in the wild wild west. It’s got the markings of a tourist trap but if you step outside the traffic, whether to the northeast where an abandoned hotel was carved on the sides of the rocks or to the northwest where the old schoolhouse stand, you can almost feel the ghosts of the past, whispering tales and anecdotes about miners, cowboys, Chinese immigrants, and saloon girls .

And the truth is, it’s kinda swell.


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