|HISTORY OF THE OLD DRUG STORE BUILDING
AT CALICO GHOST TOWN REGIONAL PARK
One of only four remaining rammed earth adobe buildings at Calico, the old drug
store building has been known as Lil’s Saloon since the mid-1950s. Although it does
not show up in photographs before the time of the fire of 1887, County records
indicate that this was the location of the Goodenough & Mendenhall Drugstore in the
Dr. Rollin A. Goodenough was the earliest known physician at Calico, and D.C.
Mendenhall the earliest known pharmacist. Before the death of Goodenough in 1884,
an interest in the Drugstore was sold to Mrs. D.J. Elliott. Mrs. Elliott operated a toy
store and fresh fruit stand, and shared space with another woman who had a millinery
(hats) store. Mrs. Elliott quit her business in the summer of 1885, and the Boca Beer
Hall as operated by Sutcliffe & Quinn of nearby Daggett next owned the building.
Dr. Albert R. Rhea arrived in Calico to practice medicine in 1885 and in 1892, he
owned property fitting the description of the old drug store building, which became
known as Dr. A. R. Rhea’s Drug Store. Dr. Rhea also served as Calico’s Well’s Fargo
agent from 1893-1896.
Calico entered into its ghost town years after the silver mining ended around 1898,
and the old drug store building was vacant for awhile. The townsite of Calico was
owned by the Zenda Mining Company, at the time Larry Coke was hired as caretaker
in the 1930s. Coke and his wife Lucille operated a rock shop and miner’s museum
inside this building.
The Coke’s sold their interest to a couple of Daggett residents in 1947, and they in
turn sold out to the Knott family who had purchased Calico from Zenda in 1951. It was
during the ownership of the Knotts that the building was named Lil’s Saloon, possibly
because of a story written by Lucille Coke. However, high up on the false front of the
building can be seen the words, “Dr. A. R. Rhea.”
The building underwent substantial repair and reinforcement after damage was
suffered during the Calico Earthquake of 1997.
Courtesy of Lane House & Museum