Some have been re-purposed, some glamorized, some left to rot. At an elevation of 9,180 feet, situated between two San Juan Mountain passes, Silverton was dubbed the “Mining Town That Never Quit.” It started booming around 1873, with settlers pouring into Silverton seeking gold and silver around the creeks and rivers. 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. It has a walk-in bank vault from 1964, as well as an abandoned gold mine underneath the bar. Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. For that reason, we name Abilene our top Western Town for 2018. One was the boarded-up depot’s caretaker O.B. By the mid-1930s, only four residents were left. 87520 National Trail Highway Amboy CA, 92304. El Reno -Home of the Oklahoma Land Rush. Along with the silver boom in Creede, so came the boom of Ouray. In 1946, Hollywood came to the high desert to stay. Speaking of not quitting your day job, gambling is still alive and well in Deadwood, though it’s evolved somewhat from backroom poker games to more modern establishments. 36600 Ghost Town RoadYermo, CA 92398Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 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. During the 1980s and ’90s, Kelso became a virtual ghost town, with only a few residents. Here are the ones you can visit. “I don’t want to be bothered.”. How to Create a Genuine Looking Old Wild West Town Scene. Dodge City, was once the epicenter of the Wild West. Search for a topic, destination or article, We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. mobile app. “The steep 2 percent grade that trains had to climb from west of Kelso to Kessler Summit meant that extra ‘helper engines’ would need to be stationed nearby to help them up the grade,” a National Parks Service history explains. Amboy passed through the hands of different owners before it was bought by Albert Okura, founder of the Juan Pollo restaurant chain, in 2005. Complete with a false-facade Old West Mane Street (pun intended), comfortable motel, and stables, Pioneertown served as a location for more than 50 movies and TV shows. Roy’s closed and much was abandoned, including the elementary school, now a fenced-in ruin. A woman smiles when you peek into the windows of the adorable motel’s reception office. After gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874, people flocked to the Deadwood area to make their fortune. Providing family fun since 1974. And there are real estate signs, dotting the empty roads, stuck in the weedy, barren lots, advertising that the land is for sale. Nowadays the town has shed its gunfighting reputation and leaned into its cattle history. More than 500 mines were soon in operation, producing the biggest silver load in California history. When you pull into Amboy today, the first thing you notice is the music. 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. There is a forlorn, abandoned basketball court, and a fireplace—all that’s left of a small house. Read time: 9 mins. 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. Here’s a guide to five ghost towns near Mojave. Say “howdy” to one heck of a smoking-hot deal straight out of the Wild West. Buy a cowboy hat from the hip guy with an alt-country beard in another store (and pay over Venmo) and consider purchasing a beautiful earthenware mug in another. 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. In the 1970s, the construction of new highways made Route 66 obsolete, and Amboy’s fortunes fell. That year, a group of Hollywood investors, including cowboy stars Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, Dick Curtis, Bob Nolan, Russell Hayden, and Tim Spencer, bought 13 acres of desert land 25 miles from Palm Springs. The rudimentary depot first opened in 1905 to aid Union Pacific trains chugging across the desert to and from Las Vegas. Suddenly, it rises like a fairytale castle: a large Spanish Revival structure. Okaton – A Prairie Ghost Town By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. 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. This replica ghost town looks so real, it's scary. Fittingly, Schieffelin called the town “Tombstone” because he was initially told he would find nothing there but his own tombstone. 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. Sun in your face and cold drink in your hand, singing along to Creedence Clearwater Revival: Who doesn’t love a road trip to the desert? Two of the motel rooms are open. The names in this generator have been based on real life Wild West town names. 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. You can take a ride through an old mine on a tram, pan for silver, take pot shots in the shooting gallery, and camp overnight under the Calico hills. When you visit us you will learn about late 19th-century farming tools, period dressmaking, blacksmithing, and much more. 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. In 2005, the restored depot was opened as the visitor center for Mojave National Preserve. You can even pan for gold at the Lost Boot Mine, but don’t expect to strike it rich. You’ve probably heard of some of Deadwood’s most famous residents, like Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock. The rough-hewn wooden structures look as if they were transported from the Old West. In 1966, he donated the restored—and heavily sanitized—town to the county of San Bernardino. “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. Wild West in Los Angeles . There are few Wild West buffs who haven't heard of Deadwood, SD, and this town remains one of the true wonders of Old Wild West. Finally, a place to stretch their legs, breathe some fresh air, and have a drink or 10. Most of the outdoor scenes were shot elsewhere, but these are a couple of places to go that have their roots in the Old West In the recreated print shop, a friendly skeleton wears an old-fashioned green visor and kitschy wanted posters of madams and madmen are displayed on the walls. Dodge City is much more quaint these days. The era referred to as the Old Wild West began following the Civil War in 1865. Buses of potential buyers were brought to California City. 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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. The mines had pithy names like the Bismark, the Burning Moscow, and the Waterloo. There are an abundance of monuments of the Wild West in Cody, most notably the Old Trail Town, which includes Wild West artifacts like Butch Cassidy’s cabin, the grave of mountain man John Johnson, a saloon frequented by the famous outlaw Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, and the home of Curley, the Indian scout who survived the Battle of the Little Big Horn. 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 … In 1924, the grand Spanish Revival Kelso Depot and Clubhouse opened. You also have to stop in at the Ponderosa Saloon, a quirky bar that’s as Wild West as it gets. 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 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.”. 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. Like many Wild West towns, Virginia City has a trolley tour that brings you through the major landmarks. For true history buffs, you can actually visit the graves of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane at Mount Moriah Cemetery. At its height during World War II, the population of Kelso reached around 2,000. 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. Top 10 Wild West towns in America . If you are looking for the best Wild West towns and activities, then this article will give you some great tips! Across the street is an old post office, and an abandoned church where an organ sits in its back room, waiting to be played. Inside, an empty soda counter, straight out of Dobie Gillis, is preserved, and kitschy souvenirs appear to be for sale. “They would just look at him. Today, the picturesque tourist trap is all charm, with no true grit (or ghosts) in sight. Driving through California City today is an eerie experience. But when Route 66 passed through town, bringing vacationers looking for a bite to eat and a photo opportunity, Amboy found its true purpose. 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. Their green lights twinkle, a warning to airplanes taking off from a nearby airport. Shaniko – Wool Capitol of the World. The world’s love affair with America’s Wild West has always burned bright, and nothing in the country’s history compares to the period from 1865 to 1895 when prospectors and pioneers pushed their way towards better lives and scrambled for pots of gold. Mane Street is a friendly place, not a grimacing desperado in sight. Many of Wild West City’s buildings are accurate reproductions, loaded with period items and antiques. 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. There are lots ideal for middle-class family homes. However, there's still plenty of chances to step back in time. We’ve all enjoyed watching old Westerns with cowboys, cattle rustlers, saloon brawls, train and stage coach robberies, and street gun fights… the … Soon it became the lynchpin for several small towns sprouting up around the area’s largest mines. The term “ghost town” has an ominous tone, but most of the ghost towns in the United States used to be mining towns that boomed quickly then died out when the mines dried up and the townspeople left in search of better luck elsewhere.The dilapidated buildings and ruins of these towns serve as a living history of wild west living in the late 1800s and early 1900s. But the boom, as nearly always, was followed by a bust. 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. It was truncated during the 1964 renumbering and its signage removed in 1974. By 1969, the year Mendelsohn pulled out amid a torrent of lawsuits and government investigations, California City had only 1,700 residents. For a break from the shootouts, take a ghost tour at the Bird Cage Theater, which was a popular 1880s drinking, gambling, and performance venue in which 26 people were reportedly killed. Don't worry about being challenged to an old-fashioned gunfight at high noon, though. What looks like a food truck is parked in the driveway, the words “Research Flat Earth” painted on its side. Inspired by the explosive growth of the San Fernando Valley, in 1958 he bought 82,000 acres of desert wasteland, intent on making it into the ideal industrialized American metropolis. 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. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. Pioneertown’s influx of young residents has driven some people away. Names like 'Ruby City', 'Deadwood' and 'Tombstone'. Three hours east of Los Angeles, this small settlement in the Mojave started off as a railroad community. As the frontier boomed and young men ventured west in … Who knew a deserted, rough-and-tumble mining boomtown in the Wild West could be so delightful? One faux-aged wooden marker reads: Here lies Jerimiah Mountain Man 1928-2005. 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. All attractions and rides for one admission fee. A sales office and model houses were constructed, and work was started on Central Park, an 80-acre recreational area that eventually included a 20-acre lake, outdoor swimming pool, playing fields, par-three golf course, picnic areas, tennis courts, indoor sports center and community building. Whether it’s about lawmen and gunfighters, ranchers and sodbusters, or railroads and boomtowns, all True Western Towns have a story to tell. CANYON DIABLO, ARIZONA Nowhere in the Southwest was there a more violent place than the railroad town of Canyon Diablo, giving it the top spot on our list of the meanest Wild West towns. Calico. The town has grown over the years, now boasting around 14,000 people. You can still visit the O.K. Sounded like a real roller coaster ride. The promise of wealth lured outlaws, gamblers, and gunslingers who transformed the town into a vibrant and often dangerous place. Silverton might be the highest Wild West town in the country — and no, that’s not a swipe at Denver. Visit the Boot Hill museum, located on the site of the historic Boot Hill cemetery, for a look at the 60,000 artif… A ghost town is a term used to describe towns that failed to stand the test of time and died off the same time the gold mines stopped producing gold. In the dust-covered ’50s-style kitchen, you might glimpse a desert version of trapped Betty Draper standing at the window, staring out at the train tracks. The promise of wealth lured outlaws, gamblers, and gunslingers who transformed the town into a vibrant and often dangerous place. 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. Everyone knows the expression “get the hell out of Dodge,” but in reality, you should probably get the hell to Dodge. 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. Most work in the local jail, at nearby Edwards Air Force Base, and in the large Boron mine to the east. You can even book a ranch tour and learn how to shoot a rifle. Farther down the dirt road, a modern-day cowboy sitting a spell on the porch takes off his hat, an old-timey gesture in front of the old-timey saddle shop. Prostitutes - or 'soiled doves' and 'sportin' women' as they were commonly known - were a fixture in western towns and cities. Corral. 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. 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. 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. You’ll probably still lose, but at least you don’t have to keep your head on a swivel for gunslingers. An authentic mining ghost town that hosted more than 60 saloons and dance halls at its peak, its decay has been frozen by park authorities. See if you can find the good, fallen tree nearby, rest for a moment, and think of ghost trains gliding across the unforgiving desert. Its biggest claim to fame wasn’t precious metal, however, but its red light district, which featured dance halls, saloons, and bordellos. The hills nearby are covered in sleek white windmills. 21000 Hacienda Boulevard California City, CA 93505. The town was named after a woman named Olive Oatman, who was kidnapped by an Apache tribe and then sold as a slave to Mohave indians. Kelso Depot 90942 Kelso Cima Road Kelso, CA 92306. At home, at school, or on the road, we offer a great selection of games! See more ideas about Wild west, Old west photos, Old west. Hickock was shot and killed in Deadwood while holding the infamo… Wooden boardwalks lead you alongside restored 19th-century buildings, including historic saloons, and plenty of museums. Visitors are free to explore its spooky remains, but there are no kitschy reenactments, restaurants, or shops selling … Then get your kicks off Route 66 (now the National Heritage Trail) in the ghostly midcentury modern nightmare known as Amboy. However, the industries and factories that Mendelsohn promised to lure to the city never came. The shootout only last 30 seconds, but it resulted in the deaths of Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers. Okura has a soft spot for Americana; he also bought the refurbished, original McDonald’s in San Bernardino. But shortly after, it began to dwindle as nearby mines closed and the switch from steam engine to diesel rendered the depot’s purpose as a way station obsolete—since trains no longer needed assistance climbing steep grades.