May be that some of you will remember from my last post about Tuolumne Meadows, that I mentioned a possible future post about a Ghost Town just down the mountains from there? Well, thanks to some of my blogger friends' requests... here is this that little ghost town of Bodie, California that has long since been forgotten by most of the world.
I was really surprised that there was not more hype about this sort of unique place and we were actually both disappointed to find that WE were the ONLY visitors to this place the whole time that we were there. It was almost like everyone in the world was no longer home. While this can be fun… it also makes it tough if you want to have an over-priced hamburger and a tall cool one while you are there. A fact that still resonates with me.
Seeing all of these old buildings and thinking of what the town must have been like in its heyday some 150 years ago. This fact stuck in my mind the whole time we looked around that whole town for signs of that old heyday life. The buildings themselves were really very neat, but the area itself, was very much of a desert... just very hot and very dry. Another reason to want a tall cool one!
The history of the city shows that in 1859 William (a.k.a. Waterman) S. Bodey (spelled differently than the town) discovered gold near what is now called Bodie Bluff. A mill was established in 1861 and the town began to grow. It started with about 20 miners and grew to an estimated 10,000 people by 1880! By that time, the town of Bodie bustled with families, robbers, miners, storeowners, gunfighters and prostitutes of all kinds. At one time there was reported to be 65 saloons in town. And still not a tall cool one in sight.
Amongst the saloons were numerous brothels and 'houses of ill repute', gambling halls and opium dens. Needless to say that there was entertainment for every taste (well taste might not be the operative word here)!
After a long day working the claims, the miners would head for the bars and the red light district to spend their earnings. The mixture of money, gold and alcohol would often prove fatal. It is said that there was a man killed every day in Bodie. Presumably, the undertaker never had a slow day.
There are records that say that Wm. Bodey took a ship from New York, around the horn to end up in San Francisco. The name of the town was changed at some point in time, before the majority of the people made their way to Bodie. There are different stories as to why - one says it was to keep the correct pronunciation of town's namesake. Another says that the sign painter didn't have the room for the tail of the lower-case "y". Today, even though Bodie is lost down a dusty 13 mile long road, off of state highway 395, it is amazing just how many people are aware of this once glorious town.
There's a story about a little girl whose family moved from San Francisco to Bodie. Depending on who tells you the story, (or where you read it), she wrote either: "Good, by God, I'm going to Bodie"
or "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie".
Once you get through this actual site, you'll have to decide for yourself. But for me, a place where you can't even find a tall cool one... is definitely a GHOST TOWN!