"BODIE, A CALIFORNIA GHOST TOWN" Bridgeport by JeanCooke

Bridgeport Travel Guide: 26 reviews and 62 photos


Unique even for ghost towns, Bodie?s deserted buildings with slot machines, chairs, tables, beds complete with mattresses, clothes hung on hooks as if occupants will return today, coffins, canned goods and medicines are just as departing citizens left them. A fascinating glimpse back in time.


Waterman S. Bodey?s fate seemed to fulfill an almost legendary curse that accompanied discoveries of great riches. After hitting pay dirt, October 1859, Bodey headed for his winter dugout with provisions only to freeze to death outdoors in an unexpected blizzard. Bodey?s partner, Black Taylor, was later scalped and murdered by Indians at Hot Springs Valley, ironically since his mother may have been a full blooded Cherokee Indian.

?The breaking up of one winter and the beginning of the next? were the only two Bodie seasons that Mark Twain could distinguish. During harsh winters, tunnels through snow drifts connected buildings. With winters of forty degrees below zero, winds over one hundred miles an hour, killings a daily occurrence, Bodie was a wicked place. The Rev. F.M. Warrington in 1881 described the town as, "A sea of sin, lashed by the tempest of lust and passion."

Chinese and Mexicans flocked in making the camp truly cosmopolitan. Fraternal organizations furnished social activity in suppers and dances. Diversions included theatrical performances, picnics and sleighing parties.

From 1874 to 1918 when the RR stopped running, Bodie had it?s ups and downs producing millions in gold and silver. Two fires, one in 1892 and the other in 1932, ravaged the business district. Bodie faded into a ghost town during the 1940's. It became a State Historic Park in 1962, managed in a state of ?arrested decay?. Today, with less than 10% of the town still standing, it is still the largest ghost town in the western United States, and what is left looks much the same as it did over 50 years ago when the last residents left.
Tourists now walk streets that once glittered with over sixty saloons, a rather complete red light district and main street over a mile long.
The Museum contains horse drown hearses, pictures, diaries, kitchen items and memorabilia. Stop at the museum office for a walking tour available in English, Italian, French and German. The American West is a favorite with Europeans fascinated by rowdy characters and the great open spaces of our once ?Wild West?.

  • Last visit to Bridgeport: Jul 2001
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • mcpangie's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2004 at 4:47 PM

    I think I'll remember to drive up that Bodie Creek Road from Aurora, Nevada.


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