California State Silver Rush Ghost Town
Setting the Stage
The story of the adoption of the official state silver rush ghost town began, in 2002, with a bill proposing an official state ghost town.
Assembly Bill No. 1757, as introduced by Assemblyman Robert "Tim" Leslie, in January, 2002, proposed that the town of Bodie be named the official ghost town of California.
There are hundreds of ghost towns in California and it was up to Mr. Leslie and his supporters to make the case that, out of the hundreds of other ghost towns in the state, Bodie should be designated as the official ghost town. For the most part the path was smooth, until the County of San Bernadino got into the act.
There was concern, from the County of San Bernadino, that Calico Ghost Town, a popular tourist destination about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles would be negatively impacted by the legislation. The concern was that official recognition of Bodie might create a competitive disadvantage for Calico when competing for state and federal grants.
Representatives of the County of San Bernadino offered the following arguments in opposition to Assembly Bill No. 1757.
Assemblywoman Gloria Romero, who grew up in Barstow, held a sentimental attachment to Calico. As a little girl, Romero visited Calico often and she credited the attraction with giving her a sense of history. She argued for recognition of Calico Ghost Town.
And so it was that the "Great Ghost Town Compromise of 2002," as Senator Debra Bowen, Marina del Rey, called it, was crafted in the California State Senate.
Though Mr. Leslie was disappointed in the evident need for compromise, Assembly Bill No. 1757 was amended to make Bodie the "the official state gold rush ghost town" instead of the "official state ghost town."
The "Great Ghost Town Compromise of 2002" paved the way for the recognition of Calico Ghost Town.
Adoption of the California State Silver Rush Ghost Town
In the summer of 2001, before the Bodie ghost town bill was introduced, a fire burned five buildings and a popcorn wagon to the ground in Calico Ghost Town. During the 2002 wrangling over the Bodie bill, Calico was being rebuilt.
After the "Great Ghost Town Compromise of 2002," First District Supervisor, for the County of San Bernadino, Bill Postmus vowed to pursue recognition of Calico Ghost Town as the Silver Rush ghost town of California. He had been opposed to the original Bodie bill but was satisfied with the amendment. "I'm going to be working with members of our San Bernardino County legislative delegation, so that we can find a member to carry this piece of legislation," he said. "I feel that naming it as an official state silver rush ghost town would help separate Calico from other ghost towns in California, and help us get more tourists and San Bernardino County residents to Calico,"1
Backed by the County of San Bernadino, State Senator Roy Ashburn introduced Senate Bill No. 906 on February 22, 2005. The Senate Committee on Governmental Organization released the following background as part of their analysis.
With virtually no opposition, Senate Bill No. 906, making Calico the "official state silver rush ghost town" of California passed through the Senate and Assembly by July 5, 2005.
On July 19, 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the legislation adopting Calico as the official state silver rush ghost town of California.
The following information was excerpted from the California Government Code, Title 1, Division 2, Chapter 2.
CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE
429.8. Calico is the official state silver rush ghost town.
Source: California State Legislature, California Law, (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html), February 10, 2008.
Calico Ghost Town: Calico Ghost Town, an Old West Mining Adventure, in California.
Calico, California: Calico, California: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Calico - Revived From A Desert Grave: A travel site for the nostalgic and historic minded.
CALICO, CALIFORNIA: Road Trip America entry from Megan Edwards, founder, editor, designer, writer, and book reviewer for RoadTrip America®.
Ghost Towns of California is a guidebook to the state's best boomtowns. Once thriving, these abandoned mining camps and pioneer villages still ring with history. Ghost town expert Philip Varney equips you with everything you need to know to explore these remnants of the past. Featured are color maps, driving and walking directions, town histories, touring recommendations, and stunning color photography of 70 sites, including the famous Bodie. Come see where it all started at the mother lode, and trace the great migration throughout the region. Visit the northern mines and the ghosts of San Francisco Bay, the Eastern Sierra, Death Valley, and the Mojave Desert. This is the essential guidebook to the glory days of the Old West!
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