"ABANDONED" Bodie by SteveOSF

Bodie Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 106 photos

The History of Bodie

In 1859, William (a.k.a. Waterman) S. Bodey discovered gold, east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, at what is now known as Bodie Bluff. In 1861 a mill was established and the town named after Bodey soon emerged. The town changed the spelling to Bodie to avoid mispronunciation. Unfortunately, Bodey perished in a snowstorm before seeing the growth of the town.

Bodie became a thriving mining town, and was the main town of Mono County. By 1879 Bodie claimed a population of about 10,000 people and had about 2,000 buildings. But it was far from a peaceful community. Fights, robberies, and killings were commonplace. It had 65 saloons and 7 breweries to help relieve the boredoms of everyday life. The town's reputation was such as to inspire a young girl, upon learning that her family was to move to Bodie, to write in her diary, "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie."

Eventually the amount of gold extracted from the mines began to dwindle, bursting this bustling town's bubble. Then in 1892 a fire ripped through much of the town. Another fire in 1932 provided more devastation. Then the Depression and World War II Era restrictions on gold ownership provided the final blow to the town and Bodie was abandoned.

About 170 building remain in Bodie. In 1962 Bodie became a State Historic Park. The Park Service now preserves the remains of the town in a state of "arrested decay." Bodie's only inhabitants are a few park rangers and creatures of the remote hills.

  • Last visit to Bodie: Apr 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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