Bodie: The Ghost Town...

One of the reasons we stayed at the Virginia Creek Settlement (besides being able to say we slept in a covered wagon) was its close proximity to the beyond amazing Bodie State Historic Park.

Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. The town is named for Waterman S. Body (aka William Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of gold in hills north of Mono Lake. In 1875, a mine cave-in revealed pay dirt, which led to purchase of the mine by the Standard Company in 1877. People flocked to Bodie and transformed it from a town of a few dozen to a boomtown.

We have been coming here for years and each time we discover something new. It helps that Jenny and Bob are as curious as we are.
At one time there were 2,000 buildings here. Fire was the main destroyer so only a small part of the town survives, preserved in a state of "arrested decay." Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods.

This was the first time we recalled being allowed into one of these deserted homes. Clothes in the drawer, dishes on the kitchen table, a baby's crib in the corner. To think of an exodus that would make the residents leave everything behind is mind boggling and intriguing.

This is the residence of J.S. Cain, who was eventually the town’s principal property owner. Cain moved to Bodie when he was 25 and built an empire. He began by putting lumber barges on Mono Lake and transporting timber for Bodie – the same timber that was needed to support the mine shafts, stoke the boilers that ran the machinery, built the buildings, heated the homes and cooked the food. What was the most important contribution by the Cain family, however, was the protection of Bodie. When World War II closed the mines permanently, it really did become a Ghost Town. The Cains hired a caretaker to protect what was left behind so that we can enjoy it today. What forward thinking people.

There is beauty in the ruins. Bodie really is special where the past is preserved so interestingly. I know of no other place like it. We'll be back!

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For Travel's Sake said...

Great pictures! I like the one of Steve and of the lantern. I haven't been there since I was 15, maybe even younger. I would like to go back and see it with older eyes. It is hard to believe the town had 10,000 people!

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