Amusing Themselves in Calico

Stories of life in the days when Calico was booming were collected by Alice Salisbury, from women who had lived in the colorful camp, and printed in the Barstow Printer-Review. Here are some of the memories that Mrs. Salisbury preserved:

Mrs. Lucy B. Lane – I was very happy as a school girl in Calico when the town was in its prime. The thing that bothers me is to have people ask me to describe some of the murders and shootings and brawls that they say must have taken place in a booming silver camp in the ’89s. Only two murders, you know, in the whole course of Calico’s history, and those committed by strangers, one a card-cheating affair, and one a boundary fight.

Mrs. Annie Falconer – of course there weren’t any little plaster saints up there in Calico. The men all thought they had to wash that red dust out of their throats with plenty of liquor and at one time 13 saloons were helping them to do it.

There we were, occupying a plateau only 350 yards long. Private houses, three general stores, two drugstores, a jewelry store run by Mr. Stacy, restaurants, the Palace and later the Cosmopolitan hotels – 20 rooms with lace curtains, those saloons, two dance halls, the town hall, assay offices, the Chinese quarter about 40 strong in the gully just below us to the east – all rubbing elbows goodnaturedly.

Alice La Maintain – Calico’s additions to Main Street were made by extension bridges thrown across those unhandy gullies. At first, tents, cave-dugouts, rough looking houses with tiers of bunks lining the walls sprung up like mushrooms, frame houses built from lumber teamed clear from San Bernardino.

Sarah Kennedy – Water was pumped from wells down on the wa­ter levels and was stored in a huge redwood tank located high above the town and piped by gravity into every house for $1.50 a month.

Fanny Mudgett – Fun? Of course we had fun – nice fun, too. I tell you, Calico was a real home town, not a brawling, shooting, bloody camp. We girls invited our boy friends home and entertained them with “sings” around the cottage organ, or the guitar, or the violin.

I’ve never gone to such nice jolly dances since I left Calico. I can shut my eyes now and hear Bill Nelson’s fiddle playing “The Beautiful Blue Danube!” My brother, Jimmy Mulcahy, Tornado Tim and Whooper Up Mike were all wonders at calling for the square dances.

Mrs. Endora Goodrich – There were some mighty pretty, lively girls up there in Calico, and nice girls were treated mighty respectfully by those “wild” Calico menfolks, but not so respectfully that they didn’t have plenty of lively fun. Who wouldn’t with about three men to every girl?

Mrs. Oliver Connell – We women all took to nursing like ducks to wa­ter. Whenever anyone with or without a family was sick, we all flew in and tried to help things along. When the pneumonia epidemic almost filled up Calico’s cemetery, we had our hands full. Graves were blasted out of rock. That was sad mining for us.

Harry Oliver – Klaxo.Net