Happy 25th Anniversary, Silver City Ghost Town

The quirky Kern County destination goes in search of phantoms with its fans.

WAYBACK, YESTERDAY, AND TODAY: One of the charms of the compact and colorful Silver City Ghost Town, which is just a pop and a toot from Lake Isabella in Kern County, is the variety of ages and lengths of time at work. Oh, for sure, the storied buildings on the property are as Old West as Old West gets, so you can pin their various ages at 100+ and much more. Then there's the property itself, which is marking its 25th anniversary in August 2015; J. Paul Corlew, the searcher of ghosts and leader of ghost tours, acquired it on Aug. 14, 1990. And then there's Izzy the Ghost Town Cat, the beloved property feline, a whiskery fellow is rather younger than 25 years, and definitely younger than the 1800s-era structures. But ardent admirers of the cat -- he has his own Facebook page -- would claim that Izzy is an old soul, and perhaps, in spirit, older than anything on the property. (Try to think otherwise as he trots after you, with his jewel-like eyes affixed upon you in a calm and wise manner.) In short, there are many ages at work at Silver City Ghost Town, but something that remains timeless is the phantom fan's love of the nighttime walk-around among spooky old rooms and pathways. The destination offers that chance, every few weekends, and it will again on...

AUG. 15 AND 29: We're fairly sure that some of the usual 25th birthday tropes -- singing and balloons and toasts -- may not happen, and the whole tour will remain on the quiet, don't-scare-the-spookies side, but you can wish the people who oversee the property a happy first quarter century. They're called Lantern Tours at Silver City, because the lights are kept low, and the stories flow, of long-ago characters who once inhabited the horseshoe line-up of low-slung structures. Will you see something out of the ordinary? Will Izzy rub up against your ankle in welcome? Is a night searching out the strange and supernatural just the lively -- or unlively -- thing you need as you head into the eerie autumn? Tickets info is this way, seekers of the offbeat and historic and feline and fun. (And admission, by the by, helps the upkeep of this funky old/new/timeless gem.)

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