Calico Cemetery


A friend and I were driving to Las Vegas, which is a 10 hour drive from where we live, so we spent the night in Barstow. We were meeting a third friend in Vegas, and didn’t want to get there hours before she did, so we decided to spend an hour or so in Calico Ghost Town, a place I remembered fondly from my childhood.

Calico was a real silver mining town founded in the late 1800s, but deserted when the silver ran out. Walter Knott, of Knott’s Berry Farm, bought this place in the 1940s.

I had never seen the cemetery, and that was the first thing we saw when we got there…here’s part of an article I found on the web about it (from

Walter Knott, famous for inventing the Boysenberry and creating the world’s first theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm, had purchased the ghost town of Calico, and restored the buildings. He then used it to create a duplicate ghost town exhibit at Knott’s Berry Farm. Dennis Casebier of the Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association believes that Knott took some of the artifacts from Calico and used them as ornaments at Knott’s Berry Farm, including taking some of the tombstones. There is a cemetery exhibit at Knott’s, but it’s not known for sure if those tombstones were originally from Calico. In 1966, Knott donated Calico to the county.

The cemetery has 137 visible graves. Some graves have wooden markers with some noticeable inscriptions, but not legible enough to read. Other graves are noted only by mounds of rocks. There are some recent graves here. Only 12 graves in all have readable markers.

The stone with the title, Tumbleweed is Gone, is the grave of Tumbleweed Harris, who was sheriff there for seven years (I don’t know when, he died in 1979.) It was pretty much unreadable, but I found an older picture at, and this is what it says:

Lay me down on the hillside at Calico
Where the desert winds sweep by
Where in row upon row of little brown tents
My former companions lie.
With only the sand for a blanket,
Instead of a flower strewn sod,
My body shall rest from its labors
When my spirit has gone out to God.
I tramped these hills in the sunshine
On the desert I’d live and die.
Let me rest on the hillside at Calico
Where the desert winds sweep by.


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