NAME: Calliham
COUNTY: McMullen
CLIMATE: Warm winter, hot summer
Winter, spring, fall
REMAINS: Unknown.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created a ghost town, if you can believe, on purpose. Its demise occurred in the 1970s when the Corps built the Choke Canyon Dam. Ranchers first settled in the area of Calliham following the Civil War but the town itself was not settled until 1918. Ten years before in 1908, a rancher was drilling a water well on his ranch in the Frio Valley. He not only found water but also high-pressure natural gas. His name was Charles Byrne. Byrne took a sample of oil from a seep in the bed of the Frio to investors with the hope of developing a major oil field. The area was not taken seriously until 1917 when an exploratory well was drilled on the J. T. Brown ranch that blew in with a capacity of sixty-two million cubic feet of gas. The next year, J. T. Calliham built a store on his ranch and it was called Calliham's. In 1922 another test well struck a rich flow of oil on Calliham's ranch and an oil field boomtown was born. From boomtown to ghost town was Calliham's fate with the construction of Choke Canyon Dam. Through the right of eminent domain, the Corps purchased the entire town and evicted the residents. No one could live long under five feet of water if and when the reservoir would be at full capacity. Callaham today is in what is known as the Choke Canyon State Park. SUBMITTED BY: Henry Chenoweth