Caliente was established in the 1870s as Allen’s Camp, named after a cattle rancher named Gabriel Allen. The name was later changed to Agua Caliente, but lasted a short time due to confusion with another California town with the same name. In 1875 with the arrival of the railroad the name was shortened to Caliente.
Caliente was not a mining town, but rather a shipping and receiving station. Even before the railroad arrived, wagons made their way to Caliente filled with merchandise and mining equipment that would be transferred to pack teams headed for the Kern River gold camps. At the towns height there were roughly sixty buildings, twenty or more of which were saloons.
Today the Union Pacific Railroad still rolls through Caliente on its way through the Tehachapi Mountains. A General Store which also serves as the post office is the communities only retail store.
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