Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Bodie, California

Gold was discovered here in 1859, but Bodie's boomtown days were between 1877 and 1881, when over 30 mines were in operation. By 1879 about 10,000 people were living here and there were over 2,000 buildings. The mines here produced gold valued at over $100 million.

The town's reputation for wickedness was second to none; its 65 saloons were notorious. One preacher summed up the town as a "sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion." Violence was commonplace, and killings were sometimes almost daily events. "There is some irrestible power," commented the Bodie Standard, "that impels us to cut and shoot each other to pieces." The notorious "bad man from Bodie" became a legend throughout the West. One little girl, whose family was taking her to the infamous and remote town, wrote in her diary: "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie."

Bodie lingered on through good times and bad. But in 1932 a fire destroyed 90% of the town, an event which sealed the town's doom. What remains is considered the best all-round ghost town in the West. Its dozens of deep-grained, russet-and-gold wooden buildings are discreetly maintained in a condition of "arrested decay" while weeds grow freely around the many scattered artifacts.

Like the town itself, I will now be silent and let the photos speak for themselves...

1 comment:

Keith said...

In mid-2009 Bodie was slated for closure by the California government due to lack of funds. But funds were found to keep this unique site open at least through 2010. It would be a great loss if this park were to close.