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. Amboy passed through the hands of different owners before it was bought by Albert Okura, founder of the Juan Pollo restaurant chain, in 2005. 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. Anywhere that calls itself the “Rodeo Capital of the World” should probably be on your Wild West bucket list. After gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874, people flocked to the Deadwood area to make their fortune. Over the years, the roads were reclaimed by the city of Mojave. Calico is a desert ghost town, theme-park style. A small community of eccentrics and loners eventually grew around this fake old village in the desert. South Dakota. Driving out of town as the sun goes down in the huge, cloudless sky, you pass row upon row of empty dirt roads, like the imprint from a shoe. It was once home to Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, famous gunfighters and gamblers of the West. Slightly less-grim options include the Rose Tree Museum & Bookstore, home of the world’s largest Rose Tree; the Tombstone Epitaph newspaper building; and the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park. Known as Ghost Town in the Sky, this abandoned Wild West-themed amusement park in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, has seen as many ups and downs over the decades as its old roller coaster. Saccharine hits from the 1950s and ’60s fill the dry desert air, providing a disconcerting soundtrack for an exploration of the once-bustling stop. Rough, rowdy and dangerous, the pioneer town became famous for the western icons who passed through, such as the saloon-keeper turned lawman Wyatt Earp. Instead of housing drunkards and crooks, the old Silverton jail is home to the San Juan County Historical Society Mining Heritage Center. Soon a post office, cafeteria, and rudimentary homes for Union Pacific workers and prospectors sprang up in the isolated spot. 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. Many of Wild West City’s buildings are accurate reproductions, loaded with period items and antiques. Dodge was nicknamed the “Queen of the Cowtowns” due to the herds of longhorns shipped there, but it’s probably better known for its abundance of gunfighters and brothels. The days of Wyatt Earpp and Billy the Kid may be over, but there are still several towns throughout the US that evoke that old fashioned Wild West spirit. Well, there’s history, of course. See more ideas about Wild west, Old west photos, Old west. Dodge City, was once the epicenter of the Wild West. Waiting? The shootout only last 30 seconds, but it resulted in the deaths of Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers. The promise of wealth lured outlaws, gamblers, and gunslingers who transformed the town into a vibrant and often dangerous place. Mane Street is a friendly place, not a grimacing desperado in sight. 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. 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. This striking landscape of arid, mountain-flanked dirt roads, peppered with clusters of oddly-shaped rocks, has doubled as the “Wild West” in countless film and TV shoots. Whether it’s about lawmen and gunfighters, ranchers and sodbusters, or railroads and boomtowns, all True Western Towns have a story to tell. Many lot owners, who felt they had been sold a false bill of goods, simply abandoned the land and stopped paying property taxes. Corral. You can even book a ranch tour and learn how to shoot a rifle. After gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874, people flocked to the Deadwood area to make their fortune. 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. The justice of the peace chewed tobacco and swallowed the juice. 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. Suddenly, it rises like a fairytale castle: a large Spanish Revival structure. Top 10 Wild West towns in America . There are roads laid out in a perfect grid. Please also read our Privacy Notice and Terms of Use, which became effective December 20, 2019. Finally, a place to stretch their legs, breathe some fresh air, and have a drink or 10. And the gaudy colors in the mineral stained mountains which formed a backdrop for it all reminded someone of a piece of calico. “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. Like many Wild West towns, Virginia City has a trolley tour that brings you through the major landmarks. Three hours east of Los Angeles, this small settlement in the Mojave started off as a railroad community. The story does have a happy ending, however, as Oatman eventually gained her freedom. There is a forlorn, abandoned basketball court, and a fireplace—all that’s left of a small house. The once-bustling depot was closed by Union Pacific in 1985. Today, the picturesque tourist trap is all charm, with no true grit (or ghosts) in sight. They’re easy to drive to, fascinating to explore, and may leave you thinking about which one you’d like to live in, and which one you’d like to haunt. 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. The rough-hewn wooden structures look as if they were transported from the Old West. 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. Driving through California City today is an eerie experience. 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. As the frontier boomed and young men ventured west in … Mar 15, 2020 - Explore Free Range Living's board "Wild West Towns" on Pinterest. There is much to see in California City, in the Kern County desert, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Family travel guide to the North Carolina outdoors, The best ski resorts in North America for beginners, How to actually have fun on a ski trip if you don’t ski, The Hunt for Beyondland: The Great American Family Road Trip, Raising your child to be an extreme outdoor athlete can be scary — but worth it, 5 tips for traveling with kids during COVID-19, Finland just equalized family leave, with 7 months for each parent, Download the 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. Wooden boardwalks lead you alongside restored 19th-century buildings, including historic saloons, and plenty of museums. The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” wafts through the air. Western Towns - Our Top 10 True Western Towns - What makes a True Western Town? By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. Who knew a deserted, rough-and-tumble mining boomtown in the Wild West could be so delightful? In 1946, Hollywood came to the high desert to stay. During the 1980s and ’90s, Kelso became a virtual ghost town, with only a few residents. This includes personalizing content and advertising. But the boom, as nearly always, was followed by a bust. Names like 'Ruby City', 'Deadwood' and 'Tombstone'. The era referred to as the Old Wild West began following the Civil War in 1865. It also boasted an alarmingly high number of gunfighters, brothels, and all other manner or Wild West shenanigans. Prostitutes - or 'soiled doves' and 'sportin' women' as they were commonly known - were a fixture in western towns and cities. One of the most famous Wild West towns in the country is Deadwood, South Dakota. These days Silverton is a little more respectable. Most look like they have been there for many years. They could not see what he saw.”. Two of the motel rooms are open. Calico is a desert ghost town, theme-park style. It has a walk-in bank vault from 1964, as well as an abandoned gold mine underneath the bar. 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. Here’s a guide to five ghost towns near Mojave. 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. Across the street from the depot, the old post office is boarded up. Who knew a deserted, rough-and-tumble mining boomtown in the Wild West could be so delightful? 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. Soon it became the lynchpin for several small towns sprouting up around the area’s largest mines. There is a vacant, sunbaked house, with an overturned chair, peeling paint, and wallpaper that makes the walls look like a Rothko. 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. For true history buffs, you can actually visit the graves of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane at Mount Moriah Cemetery. In 2005, the restored depot was opened as the visitor center for Mojave National Preserve. 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. 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 … 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. Providing family fun since 1974. 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. By the mid-1930s, only four residents were left. 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. The iconic Roy’s Motel and Café opened in the 1930s, and for decades it was the domain of owner Buster Burris, “a rough-hewn entrepreneur with flinty eyes, sun-toasted skin and strong opinions about rowdy bikers and men with long hair.”. Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. See if you can find the good, fallen tree nearby, rest for a moment, and think of ghost trains gliding across the unforgiving desert. In the general store on Main Street, there are fat peppermints and candy cigarettes. A replica Wild West town deep in rural New Zealand has been put on the market -- and if you have $7.5 million to spare, it's yours. “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. 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. This must be how 20th-century passengers on the Union Pacific felt when they first saw the railroad depot in Kelso. What it's like now: Dodge City's economy is ce… 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. Behind the post office is a small wood-frame house, where it appears someone still resides. There are lots ideal for middle-class family homes. These 8 Towns In Idaho Still Look Like Something Straight Out Of The Wild West. In the 19 th century, during the gold rush, towns developed in the west around the gold mines. You can even pan for gold at the Lost Boot Mine, but don’t expect to strike it rich. 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. At its height during World War II, the population of Kelso reached around 2,000. Tired of the incessant travel that came with filming Westerns, they built Pioneertown as a permanent Wild West set. The working post office shares an aged building with the town’s fake sheriff’s office, complete with a dummy and a makeshift jail. Virginia City was a major hub for gold and silver barons throughout the 1860s and ‘70s but now serves as a monument to its former glory days. Play Wild west town for free on Kizi! 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. 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. They went boom, then bust, but some of the desert’s early settlements haven’t entirely disappeared. Now, it doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to picture the town in its Wild West days. But it’s not nearly enough people to fill even a fraction of the land. Fittingly, Schieffelin called the town “Tombstone” because he was initially told he would find nothing there but his own tombstone. In 1966, he donated the restored—and heavily sanitized—town to the county of San Bernardino. Then get your kicks off Route 66 (now the National Heritage Trail) in the ghostly midcentury modern nightmare known as Amboy. One of the most famous Wild West towns in the country is Deadwood, South Dakota. The rudimentary depot first opened in 1905 to aid Union Pacific trains chugging across the desert to and from Las Vegas. 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). The Silverton experience wouldn’t be complete, however, without riding on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historic coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive that travels through canyons and forest between Durango and Silverton. Say “howdy” to one heck of a smoking-hot deal straight out of the Wild West. “I don’t want to be bothered.”. “They would just look at him. Buses of potential buyers were brought to California City. Chandler – Last Gunfight of the Old West. And on Mane Street, Old West cottages built for movies are being lived in by real people—and an art installation even adorns one private yard. The Cody Nite Rodeo takes place every night and is truly one of the most unique rodeo experiences you’ll get in the West. Silverton might be the highest Wild West town in the country — and no, that’s not a swipe at Denver. 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. 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 … But when Route 66 passed through town, bringing vacationers looking for a bite to eat and a photo opportunity, Amboy found its true purpose. This name generator will give you 10 random names for Wild West towns and towns in similar settings. The expansive structure included “a conductor’s room, telegraph office, baggage room, dormitory rooms for staff, boarding rooms for railroad crewmen, a billiard room, library and locker room.” The depot quickly became the social center of tiny Kelso, the site of “Christmas parties, square dances, church services and trials.” It was a beacon of hospitality in unforgiving terrain. Wild West in Los Angeles . Mellonsfolly Ranch was … Settlements were raised in the dry and unaccommodating desert for many reasons. 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. All attractions and rides for one admission fee. 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. Search for a topic, destination or article, We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. And there are real estate signs, dotting the empty roads, stuck in the weedy, barren lots, advertising that the land is for sale. Visitors are free to explore its spooky remains, but there are no kitschy reenactments, restaurants, or shops selling … Calico. 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. Sumpter – Queen City Ghost Town. 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. It earned a reputation as one of the most sinful towns in the West by the end of the 1800s. Okaton – A Prairie Ghost Town Oregon. 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. Outside, however, is an entirely different beast. Be careful though, if you break the law in our town… 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. 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. 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