California Mining Rush
Trying not to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't seen the movie, the action towards the end of the film takes place in the California desert, part in an active town and part in the ruins of an old mining town. As I watched this movie, I started wondering just how many vacant towns sit in the desert after all these years. The answer is that many still exist, in differing states of repair. Most mining towns in California came into existence in the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, to exploit rich deposits of gold, silver, borax, tungsten, chrysolite and other minerals. The towns experienced booms at peak extraction and crashes when the resource was tapped out. They were either supported by another livelihood such as agriculture or manufacturing, or died out as residents left.
The state of ghost town remains is different from town to town, and depends on a lot of factors. Weather, geographic location, visitors and original construction material and techniques can all play a part in how well a site is preserved. Eastern California has an ideal dry climate for the preservation of artifacts, and the remote locations of many of the sites keep them from being visited frequently by vandals. Many mining camps were exactly that - camps - and the major structures were tents; in many of these locations, little to nothing visible is left. In other locations, where building materials were wood or stone, remains are still visible. The modernization of travel by rail and eventually by car also led to the end of many western towns as travel became quicker, requiring fewer stops along the way.
Calico, California, the site of filming for The Prowler, is located west of Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert just north of Barstow.
"There's no argument that Calico is a real ghost town. Established in 1881, Calico produced $86 million in silver and $45 million in borax during its glory years. At its height, the town boasted a population of 1,200, 22 saloons, a "Chinatown," and a well-known red light district. When the price of silver plummeted in the 1890's, the town survived on borax revenues until its official death in 1907." -Roadtrip America
|Don't forget to draw the curtains.|
California Ghost Towns
Calico, San Bernadino County, Wikipedia