Tuesday, 23 February 2010

THE DESERTED WILD WEST TOWN OF BODIE, CALIFORNIA, USA

Bodie was first discovered in 1859 when William Bodey discovered gold in the mines. After hearing these stories of wealth thousands of visitors would go there hoping to get wealthy.

In 1861 a mill was built with 20 miners. From here the town started to became a mining settlement and more and more people came in 1878. The town had a population of 5,000 to 7,000 by then and 10,000 by 1880. The mines made millions of dollars over the years.

Inside one of the houses

What is now known as a 'Ghost Town' Bodie was once a thriving place to live that boosted a mile long worth of 65 saloons, 2 banks, post office, jail, churches, 4 volunteer fire companies, brass band, rail road, it's own daily newspapers, and even it's own Chinatown that had hundreds of Chinese occupiers. It had it's fair share of wild west robberies and shootouts too.

There was also the buildings used for seedy activities like brothels, opium dens and gambling.

An empty saloon - notice how the beer bottles still sit on the bar and tables

By 1913 the Standard Consolidated Mine closed down as profits became very low.
A fire cut through the town in 1932 damaging the population count and the mining profits even more.

The last mine was closed down in 1942 by the War Production Board as it was considered as a non essential gold mine.

Gas Station
School

Some residents still remained even so, but then finally moved on when it was no longer practical to live there.

Once all the residents were gone Bodie was taken over and became a National Historic Landmark and listed as Authentic American Wild West Ghost Town in 1962.

One of the remaining churches

Years worth of decay has taken it's toll on Bodie, but a part of the town still exists with 170 buildings remaining, where tourists can walk through the streets and go inside the buildings.

What fascinates me is that at the time the town was deserted everything has been left in place as it was at the time like furniture, bar stock, abandoned cars etc.

The name Bodie originally came from the discoverer William Bodey . But a William died in a blizzard making a supply trip, so he never got to see the town named after him.

For some reason the name was change from Bodey to Body, a few other names then finally Bodie as we know it today. The new variation of Bodie was named after a painter who lived in a town nearby.

2 comments:

David said...

Very cool pictures and story about this old town. I would love to have that table and bench set shown in the second picture. That would make an awesome dining table I think.... but I bet that thing is heavy!

John | Daily Photo Gallery said...

Fascinating history. I love exploring old abandoned places :-) It's weird how they left all their furniture though.

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