Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bodie State Park - one wicked cool old ghost town!

There be gold in them hills!  That was the call in the mid-1800's in America and ten's of thousands of people fled out west in the search of that gold.  One of the top producing gold towns in California was Bodie which is located nearly on the California Nevada border, Google Map.  

Bodie was established in 1859 as a mining camp after gold was found in the beautiful Bodie Hills.  Life was good in Bodie (if you call booze, gambling, gold mining and nightly gunfights good) for about 50 years till the gold ran out and people started bailing on the city.  As a point of reference a post office operated at Bodie from 1877 to 1942.

(It's $7 for adults and $5 for kids 6 to 16, <5 = free)

Population of Bodie
  • 1870 - 8,712
  • 1890 - 1,595
  • 1930 - 228
  • 1940 - 90
  • 1950 - 0
 By the mid 1940's Bodie was completely deserted and the threat of vandalism an issue till 1962 when the United States of America decided to make Bodie a state park.  Much of the preservation of Bodie is due in thanks to The Cain family, who owned much of the land the town is situated upon, and hired caretakers to protect and to maintain the town's structures till the US took over. 

(Bodie is much the same as 50 years ago, when the last people left)

Today the park remains in a state of "arrested decay."  This means the State Park officials will see to it that the town is not vandalized and will insure the buildings are preserved without fixing them up.  Case in point, there's a building there now that's ready to fall over, so officials have poles leaning on the building to keep it erect, but they won't make the permanent repairs needed. 

(There is no camping or overnight accommodations at Bodie SP)

About 200,000 visitors come to see the small remains of this ghost town.  Over the years buildings have been lost to weather, fire and just old age.  But there are about 30 to 40 buildings, homes and even old cars that sit on the grounds at an elevation of over 8,300 feet.   If you visit Bodie in the winter, bundle up, it can get below zero with lots of Sierra snow.  And in the summer it can get warm, the record temp is 91 degrees, and the winds can whip around at 80 to 90 MPH.  

You can visit the official state park website for Bodie at:

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