California part IV - Bodie Ghost Town


Advertisement
Published: October 9th 2014
Edit Blog Post

A former saloon and one hotelA former saloon and one hotelA former saloon and one hotel

The remaining structures include for instance a hotel and a saloon

Bodie - the Wild West was never wilder than here





Bodie is a former gold mining town which saw its heydays during the gold rush. Those were the days of the Wild West. If you have seen western movies you get an idea of what things were like in Bodie.



Bodie really was a wild and violent place in the late 19th century. Not all the town was wild though. One side of the town was safe and decent. The people who lived there were law abiding citizens and they went to church on Sundays and their children went to school just like any middle class children in any town would.



On the other side of the town there was a totally different thing going on though. That's where the pubs and the brothels were and many of the people who were hanging around there would not think twice before killing you if you made them angry. When people were killed in the rough end of Bodie there would never be an investigation into the identity of the killer. If you visited the wild end of the town and got killed it
Car wreckCar wreckCar wreck

Abandoned car
was your own fault for being there in the first place.



Bodie was a lively place in the 1880-ies and at one time possibly as many as 7,000 people lived in the town. In the early 20th century the mines started to close down and people started to move elsewhere in search for jobs. In the 1920-ies the population had dropped to little more than a hundred people. Bodie must have been very much a ghost town then since most of the 2,000 or so houses that were in the town in the 1880-ies were then still standing.



That was about to change in 1932 when a fire broke out. In the fire somewhere around 80% of all the houses in Bodie burnt down. In the 1940-ies the last few inhabitants decided to leave however and from then on Bodie was a genuine ghost town.



The remaining houses, around 110 in total, forms the Bodie State Historic Park. It is a very well preserved town from the days of the wild west and the gold rush. It is open for visitors but thankfully it is not made into a Disneyland. The
Abandoned houses in BodieAbandoned houses in BodieAbandoned houses in Bodie

Bodie is open for visitors but thankfully it is not made into a Disneyland. The park rangers are only guardians of the site, they don't try to set up any wild west show or anything like that.
park rangers are only guardians of the site, they don't try to set up any wild west show or anything like that.



The remaining structures include for instance a hotel, a saloon, several private homes and a stamp mill. Most of the buildings remain closed to protect the buildings, the furniture and probably also to prevent theft. The buildings in Bodie are maintained to some extent. The regulations state that the restorations will only be made to prevent the houses from falling down or severely deteriorate.



The mines are off limits for safety reasons but the stamp mill can be visited by joining a tour. In the stamp mill the rock from the mines was crushed into a fine powder. From that powder the gold was extracted.



The process of crushing the rock was done by using mechanical sledgehammers that pounded the rock until it was all turned into very fine grains. That was of course a very noisy activity. When all the stamp mills were operating the sound they produced could be heard several miles away.



The gold was then extracted using two methods after each other.
Petrol station and a truckPetrol station and a truckPetrol station and a truck

Wonder if this is genuine? It looks like it has been set up
First the powdered rock was passed over a table covered with a thin layer of mercury. The tiny gold flakes then attached themselves to the mercury and could be scooped up.



Some of the gold passed over the mercury covered table without attaching to it and came out on the other side. That gold was extracted using cyanide.



So working in a stamp mill included deafening loud noise and/or that you had to be in contact with either mercury or cyanide. When we think our jobs sucks, we will try to think about the jobs they had in Bodie. Then all of a sudden our jobs seem pretty good.



We really enjoyed the visit to Bodie and since many of the photos we took there came out pretty good we have in this blog entry nothing but photos from Bodie.


Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Advertisement

View over BodieView over Bodie
View over Bodie

Bodie is a former gold mining town which saw its heydays during the gold rush.
Houses in BodieHouses in Bodie
Houses in Bodie

In 1932 a fire broke out in which somewhere around 80% of all the houses in Bodie burnt down.
Street in BodieStreet in Bodie
Street in Bodie

Bodie was a lively town in the 1880-ies and at one time possibly as many as 7,000 people lived in the town
Houses are kept in the current stateHouses are kept in the current state
Houses are kept in the current state

The buildings in Bodie are maintained to some extent. The regulations state that the restorations will only be made to prevent the houses from falling down or severely deteriorate.
Private homePrivate home
Private home

This used to be a private home in Bodie
Residence for the park rangersResidence for the park rangers
Residence for the park rangers

This house is once again used as a private home. Park rangers live in it.
HouseHouse
House

The remaining houses, around 110 in total, forms the Bodie State Historic Park
KitchenKitchen
Kitchen

This is the kitchen in one of the few houses in Bodie where visitors may go inside
ChurchChurch
Church

The church in Bodie
SaloonSaloon
Saloon

If you have seen western movies you get an idea of what things were like in Bodie.
Grocery storeGrocery store
Grocery store

It looks like the grocery store in Little House on the Prairie, dosn't it?
Car wrecksCar wrecks
Car wrecks

"The highway's jammed with broken heroes"
The stamp millThe stamp mill
The stamp mill

The stamp mill can be visited by joining a tour
The stamp millThe stamp mill
The stamp mill

In the stamp mill the rock from the mines was crushed into a fine powder. From that powder the gold was extracted.
Mechanical sledgehammers Mechanical sledgehammers
Mechanical sledgehammers

The process of crushing the rock was done by using mechanical sledgehammers


9th October 2014
Car wreck

Better than LA!
How eerie to walk around in the deserted town, and I love it that you could go inside some of the buildings. This certainly seemed more peaceful and interesting than LA, but what traveler ever says, I'm going to CA to see Bodie!
9th October 2014
Car wreck

Glad you liked it
Glad you liked it. It was awesome. But then I have a bit of a soft spot for ghost towns./Ake
9th October 2014
View over Bodie

Ghost Towns
Always evoking images of past glory...as if the souls of the departed still dwell there. The ones I know in OZ are gold mining towns like this one. This one is a beauty.
10th October 2014

Walkin' down Main Street
Great photo o old American history. I can just imagine hearing the jingling spurs of a Marshall Dillon strolling down the main street.
8th January 2015

Bodie blog
I loved the pictures and story about Bodie the ghost town, if I ever make to that part of the world for me it will be a must see. Thanks.

Tot: 0.08s; Tpl: 0.027s; cc: 14; qc: 32; dbt: 0.0143s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb