Monday, October 26, 2020

Calico Cemetery

I crossed another one off the bucket list by finally making the trek to Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, California. Today’s post focuses solely on the town’s cemetery, shown in this July 1961 image, followed by the contemporary shot that I captured one morning at sunrise.

Sunrise at Calico…sounds like a tasty beverage or maybe a Lifetime TV movie.

Sometimes called Boot Hill Cemetery, this burial ground is about as rustic as they come, with very few decorative flourishes.

The cross on the hill offered little protection, as over the years, the original headstones were pilfered.


In the 1960’s, the great mystery of how many people were actually buried here began to be discovered.

Some of the headstones that remained were discovered to be fakes, such as the one claiming Wyatt Earp to have been buried here. All in the name of tourism.


Thanks to the research that was done, it appears that approximately 160 people were buried here, with only about 49 of those able to be identified.

One day I hope to return again to be able to walk around this historic graveyard when the gate is actually open.

See more Calico Ghost Town photos at my main website.


JG said...

Dave, thanks for this moving post.

I wandered through this cemetery in the early 1980's. I didn't see any obvious fakes like the Wyatt Earp marker.

Many of the markers were made of wood, deeply weathered with age.

I took a photo of a wooden marker for a little child's grave, she didn't make it to her first birthday. What a harsh place to enter the world and such a short visit she had. Very sad to see.

Reminds me of the Latin epitaph for a little girl by a Roman poet:

"Lay lightly on her, O Earth,
For her tiny feet were ever lightly laid on thee."

I have no idea now where the photo went, or who wrote the poem, all lost in time.

Thanks for this reminder.


Daveland said...

I hope to get back and see the markers up close; from outside the fence I couldn't tell just how truly vintage any of them were. Visiting a cemetery is truly a glimpse back into time; one can make a lot of deductions from dates and inscriptions on tombstones.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have often made a point of wandering through the older ones when they are near my route.

Fascinating stuff.

Thanks again for posting this.