100 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe lies Bodie State Historic Park. Once a booming gold rush town, it is now a national historic site and a popular stop for visitors traveling along US Highway 395 in Eastern California.

Bodie’s History

The town was named for its founder, William Bodey, who, in 1859, discovered gold nearby. Sadly, on a return trip a few months later, Mr. Bodey froze to death in a snowstorm, never benefitting from the riches he’d discovered. (Then, just to add insult to injury, they misspelled his name when naming the town.)

Several buildings along the main street in the downtown area of Bodie Ghost Town

But riches there were! While mining was initially slow, in 1875, a mine collapse revealed a huge vein of gold ore. Within months, the town’s population boomed and, by 1880, there were between 7,000 and 10,000 people working in 30 different mines and 9 different stamp mills.

Two visitors looking up at the Bodie stamp mill
Stamp mills were used to separate the gold from the quartz rock by pounding the rock with heavy stamping equipment. Mill workers would then pour liquid Mercury on the pulverized rock to draw the metals out. (OSHA came later.)

Bodie was known for its rough reputation. There were over 60 saloons, numerous opium dens, and countless “houses of ill repute.” Gunfights were common and the park even placed a commemorative marker at the location where one resident murdered his girlfriend’s husband as he left a dance at the Union Hall. The boyfriend/murderer was arrested and jailed but escaped, only to be caught by a posse, re-jailed, and then kidnapped by vigilantes who hanged him nearby.

Not exactly Mayberry.

For as much chaos as there was, the boom didn’t last long, and, as the mines dried up and closed, thousands of workers decamped and headed for greener pastures. Mining did continue on a smaller scale all the way up until 1942, but by then, there were only a handful of people around (The main boom years were from 1877-1881.) The town continued to decline until 1962 when the state of California stepped in to preserve what was left.

Arrested Decay

The really cool thing about Bodie is the remnants of the town are maintained in a state of “arrested decay” – meaning, staff protects and maintains what’s there, but they don’t restore or improve it. If a roof is damaged or a window breaks, they replace it using equivalent materials to what was originally used, but they don’t move, paint, or clean anything, nor do they remove dust or debris.

What that means for visitors is they will see structures that, had gravity had its way, would no longer be standing (click on any photo for full version):

and when they peer into the windows of old abandoned houses, they will see the stuff of horror films:

Interior of bedroom in Bodie. Stained walls, peeling wall paper, and decayed bedding on bed frame

And that is exactly what visitors are invited to do: wander the town, peer into the windows, and imagine what life was like 140 years ago in a western boom town.

Tourists peering into the windows of a building in Bodie State Historic Park
Over the course of its long history, this building was used as a general store, a land office, an office for a hydroelectric company, and a hotel/boarding house.

Because Bodie wasn’t turned into a protected state park until years after its heyday, the vast majority of the structures were lost – to fire, weather, and time. But the 5% that remains today is full of clues about how people lived and what life was like.

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Additionally, because the town survived well into the 20th century, there are plenty of interesting artifacts from more recent times, like this 1920’s gas station:

Bodie’s Buildings

Of the structures that remain (there are almost 200 of them!), there are a good variety of private homes, commercial businesses, and community facilities.

Map of Bodie's structures

Adding to the overwhelming eeriness of the place, many of the houses seemed to have been abandoned in the middle of an afternoon…

Dust covered table and chairs inside dilapidated home in Bodie

Dust covered living room furniture in living room with peeling wallpaper inside Bodie house

Bedroom and bathroom with dust covered furniture and significant water damage to walls

Tables, chairs, and empty bookcase in dilapidated Bodie house

Many buildings have fared well over time, like this Methodist church built in 1882. (A catholic church built the same year burned in 1928):

Exterior of wood frame church

Interior of wood frame church in Bodie
An oil cloth with the Ten Commandments that once hung behind the pulpit was stolen. Seriously.

The Bodie schoolhouse was used all the way up to 1942. Its highest enrollment, in 1879, was 615 students.

Exterior of Bodie's schoolhouse

Interior of Bodie's schoolroom with dust covered desks and chairs as well as cracked and faded globe

The firehouse was essential, but infrastructure issues at a local reservoir meant firefighters repeatedly lost battles with enormous fires in the town – one in 1892 and another in 1932:

The jail had to be well maintained because it was always so busy:

Other structures are just a shell of their former selves. Like the bank – all of which was destroyed by the 1932 fire, with the exception of its brick enclosed vault:

Small brick building containing bank vault in Bodie

Interior of bank vault
I honestly can’t imagine a better advertisement for this company than how good this safe looks after all these years

Several buildings have deteriorated completely, offering visitors a glimpse of what the town would look like absent the state’s intervention:

Wood framed building leaning to the side with collapsing roof

Speaking of which, preserving the town today means a steady workload of shoring up structures, repairing foundations, and replacing broken windows. Additionally, and probably more importantly, it means making sure the contents of the park doesn’t end up on Antiques Roadshow.

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This means the park is staffed with armed rangers and other state employees 24/7/365. About five of these hardy individuals stay through the region’s brutal winter, where snowstorms routinely dump upwards of five feet of snow on the town.

Speaking of which, as we were walking along the street, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move.

A window shade in one of the old homes moved.

A window shade in a placed called Bodie GHOST TOWN moved.

While instantaneously reconsidering all my prior beliefs about what happens when people die, I noticed the shade move again.

“Holy crap, this place is really haunted!” I thought.

Upon closer examination, I noticed a dog in the window.

“Holy crap!! This place is haunted by DOGS! I love dogs! Dogs come back as ghosts??? This is AMAZING!!”

Alas…not so much.

As we came around the front of the house, we saw a sign that said “Employee’s Residence.”

Turns out, staff members who live onsite live in a couple of the old abandoned buildings. They’ve been retrofitted for modern use, but they are the original structures – which was completely shocking to us. Park rangers often live inside the parks they work at, but it’s usually in modern employee housing set away from the main scenic or historic areas. Never in a million years would I expect the state to allow these historic structures to be re-purposed for modern use.

Old wood house in Bodie with sign that says "Employee's residence"
Another staff residence. Note all the fire wood piled up along the outside.

More to the point, never would I expect anyone in their right mind to actually want to live in one of them.

We spoke with a seasonal staffer who was living and working there for the summer and he said it was incredibly unnerving at night. The park is located about 60 minutes from the nearest decent sized town, so once the park closes, there’s no one around, nowhere to go, and nothing to do. Making matters worse, they have minimal connectivity. He explained that because it’s located in the mountains, it often gets windy. This makes the old structures creak and groan, and causes the pieces of metal on the buildings and those that are strewn around the grounds to clang and scrape. He said it was very creepy and there was at least one long time caretaker who was convinced the whole place was haunted (but not by a chihuahua.) He told us that while he was enjoying his summer job, he was not planning to return next year.

All I could think of when talking to that guy was:

Nuts.

Visiting Bodie State Historic Park

If it’s not obvious, we really enjoyed visiting this place. It was fascinating to imagine the history here and to see these structures as they were when they were abandoned. And we honestly have the highest respect for the tough-as-nails individuals who call the town home.

Rusted mining carts sitting in a field
There is mining equipment scattered all around the grounds

Absent Covid, there are usually two homes that tourists can enter and look around as well as a museum that contains other artifacts. Additionally, staff members provide guided tours of the stamp mill. The mill cannot be entered without a staffer because of the dangerous materials and conditions inside.

Two structures on a hill on the outskirts of Bodie
A couple structures up in the hills surrounding the downtown area

Bodie is located about 13 miles off 395, but the last several miles are on unpaved road. Regular vehicles will have no problem (absent bad weather), but it does take a while to get there. Fortunately, the views along the way are not too shabby.

Next up…

One last post about California. And yes, I know I said that last time. But this time, I mean it.

48 COMMENTS

  1. Yikes!!! That is the creepiest place ever! Cool, but CREEPY!!!! I do love the irony of someone stealing something that clearly states, “Thou shalt not steal.” I’m feeling something did not end well for the person based on the rest of that place. No way would I ever live or stay there. I literally laughed out loud at your train cartoon. Glad you got to see it, it was interesting!

    • Yeah, I figured this would be a “Jen special.” “Burn it down. Burn it ALL down. Immediately.” LOL.

      I would truly love to know more about the theft from the church. I mean, if we’re being generous, maybe we assume the guy couldn’t read? Otherwise??? Hmmmm, it’s just not a good look.

  2. One of the most interesting and evocative feelings I have had was walking about the farm that my grandparents bought and worked (with much local help…grandpa was a lawyer in Chicago) was stopping one day near the old barn. In the overgrown scrub trees next to it was an old horse-pulled manure spreader. No, it was really that and not a lawyer doing closing argument. It hit me. I wondered who drove it for the last time…what did they think that evening(?)…did they plan to work it the next day and just never did, or did they get a new piece of equipment and never got around to selling or disposing of it?

    I thought of this feeling when I read of Bodie(Bodey) and saw some of the furniture, bottles etc, as well as the buildings themselves. I can see the ghosts who watched you as you wandered about. They were there, as you sensed, though you only saw the mini-dog in the window. (That was seen by your spidey-sense, and could be the title of one of your books.

    • So true… it is so much more impactful to see these kinds things in the places they belonged, as opposed to in a museum or gallery. This is where these items belonged, where they were used, where someone chose them to be. The fact that so much was left behind is what makes the place so odd. These people chose to just walk away and leave expensive items behind. Maybe they expected to come back? Maybe they didn’t think those things would be necessary at their next home? Maybe it would have been more expensive and difficult to move them than to start new elsewhere. Looking at our own decision 5 years ago, there’s a little of all of that in the choices we made about what to store and what to take and what to trash. It’s interesting to consider the potential reasons for Bodie being Bodie and to wonder how similar decisions are being made by modern folks every single day.

  3. First of all, love your first picture! We have a thing for old lanterns and have a couple of them throughout the house. Bodie looks like a cool little town, it is like everyone just up and left without even packing!

    • Thank you! I appreciate that. Lanterns are super cool and make everything feel more homey… even when they’re surrounded by a hundred years of dust 🙂

  4. So there are two things I find particularly surprising here. One is the size of the school. 600 kids is a LOT of kids for a town that I imagine was populated mostly by single men. And this seems like a particularly wild and crazy place to grow up. The second thing that really surprises me, like you, is that when people packed up and moved on to better things, they DIDN’T ACTUALLY PACK ANYTHING. I assume furniture has some value – why not take it with you to your next home? In any case, that weird behavior does have the benefit of giving a good picture of daily life in this town…. while thoroughly creeping out the staff.

    • We purchased the state park’s $4.00 guide that explained who lived where and we, too, were surprised by the number of families, but when you talk about a town of 8 or 10,000 people, you’re gonna have a fair amount of variety. And while the miners were busy mining and drinking and fighting, there was still a whole town to be run and that called for other types of workers who brought their families along. Either way, 600 kids in that school is pretty amazing. Unfortunately, there were no active tours and the museum wasn’t open, so we couldn’t ask questions like that, but it would certainly be interesting to know how it all worked. I’m sure school in the late 1800’s was a lot less rigorous and time consuming than we expect today and it sounds like those super high population numbers only lasted a couple years. By the time the building was abandoned in 1942, I imagine there were only a handful of schoolkids left.

      As for the furniture, my guess is these folks moved from mine to mine wherever there was work to be done, and they probably didn’t want to waste the time or money involved in moving furniture on terrible roads with horse drawn wagons.

  5. Absolutely love this post. Thank you for such a fabulous summary of Bodie. It has been on my bucket list for years. Thanks to your blog I think I need to figure out a time to visit, sooner rather than later.

    • Thanks, Kelly. We absolutely loved it and I know you will too. It’s got a great mix of history, creepiness, and fun photography options. Definitely check it out!

  6. Some much was left behind when the town was abandoned, maybe the ghosts scared the last residents. We’ve wandered the town several times and also wondered by the park staff was housed in the old buildings and not modern structures/trailers. It does not have much of a Visitor Center, and I’ve thought it would be a great place for a night sky or evening program …. just needs a campground 🙂
    We’ll be heading up 395 in a few days, thanks for the tour!

    • The more I think about it, the more I think it’s just one of those things where the state wants to protect it, but they don’t want to spend a lot of money on it. Building staff housing and a standalone visitor center would cost a lot, and I just think there’s probably not the will to do it. We were bummed to not be able to go into the little museum or stamp mill. It would have been nice to ask some questions, but such is life during Covid. Either way, I definitely think you’re on to something with the night sky. Speaking of which, we visited the Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest in the White Mountains when we were in Bishop and learned that it is a prime place for stargazing and night photography. That would seem like an incredible place to camp – and you could fit into the campgrounds up there!

      • That’s an excellent tip, which we have done on several occasions. I’ve blogged a couple of them, search “Grandview” on the blog for those 2. For your other readers this is not a road, nor campground, for full size units. Take the toad and enjoy the daytrip.

  7. How much is that alabaster ghost doggie in the window? 😀 I’m with Shannon in wondering what the heck people took with them seeing all they left behind. As fellow full-time RVers, I’m sure people would be astounded by what we all left behind when we took off, too.

    I’m not sure I’m on board with the “preserve in a state of decay” situation. When it was an active place, it wouldn’t have, obviously, been broken down and covered in inches of dust, so in that sense, it doesn’t provide a picture of what life was like at the time of occupation. I’ve always wondered about the school of thought in maintaining places in an “old” condition rather than a “current-for-the-time” state. At the same time, I *like* the creep-factor of ghost towns, so go figure! It surely made for a fun adventure and a very cool post 🙂

    • I think it just comes down to money. When the state came in 1962, it was already in a state of disrepair. Had it all been abandoned at once, instead of across decades, and had the state come in 10 years after that single abandonment, maybe they could have maintained the stuff, but after decades of neglect, the minute you start touching stuff, it starts falling apart. There’s a reason museums keep old documents and artifacts behind glass in protective cases away from sunlight and away from human touch. And, even if the things didn’t deteriorate further, you have to ask what should be done and what shouldn’t be done. If they went in and just removed the dust, then the walls would look weird. And if they cleaned up the walls, then the ceiling would look weird. By the time you start going down the road of a full restoration, it costs millions of dollars. I think they just had to make a choice – “Do we try to save what’s here for as long as possible, or do we just let it go?” It’s gotta be one way or the other, and by just leaving it alone, they can advertise all that great creepiness that appeals to the masses.

  8. Bodie looks like a very interesting place! The remaining building look to be in pretty good condition. I find it so strange that people just left everything behind. That wallpaper! Reminds me of the wallpaper in our MH….in some places it is starting to wrinkle, crinkle and come off. I love the picture of the mountains on the drive in.

    • LOL. Yeah, it still surprises me that we have wallpaper in the motorhome after it’s pretty much disappeared from modern society, but I guess they don’t have all that many options with these things. Still, I sure hope it never looks like it does in these places in Bodie. 🙂 The drive in is pretty spectacular, as is that whole area. You’re just surrounded by snow capped mountains everywhere you go. It’s incredibly beautiful.

  9. Bodie is one of the west best preserved ghost towns, if not THE best. We’ve been there a few times, but would NOT want to stay there at night. Just say’n. Although hate most of the things that California has mismanaged, we support that Bodie is preserved and fiercely protected just as it was, dishes and all.

    • Hey Ed! After our visit, I did some searching and found a couple videos on youtube about the town and its caretakers. It really was impressive how dedicated these folks are. It’s tough work in a tough environment, and they’ve got to be constantly vigilant, not just for their own safety and the the safety of the tourists who visit, but for the valuable property they protect. They’re part carpenter, part historian, and part security guard – in the middle of the mountains, far away from modern conveniences.. And some of these folks have been there for years. It’s really impressive!

  10. I have never seen a ghost town that intact. Fascinating! You got great shots of the interior through the windows. Love the wallpaper. I marked Bodie on my map. I think I could live there just for a season – what a cool thing for your resume, caretaker of a ghost town – but I think the eeriness would wear on me.

    • I definitely couldn’t do it, but if I COULD do it, I would say one summer season would be doable for some people – there are plenty of visitors during the day, there are lots of extra staff around in the evenings, and it’s relatively safe weather wise. The winter, on the other hand, is pure crazytown.

      I hope you get to visit at some point!

  11. OMG the ‘Nope Train.” 😂 Where do you FIND these things? You always have not only the most perfect photos, but the absolute best other random illustrations. I’m with you, ain’t no way I’d be staying there overnight!

    As you know, we’ve never made it to Bodie because it never fit in with our travels along 395. Thanks to your post, I feel like I’ve been there! Poor Mr. Bodey, I can’t believe they named the town after him but spelled the dude’s name wrong. And someone stole the Ten Commandments from the church wall? Seriously?

    I understand the concept of ‘arrested decay’ but I agree with Joodie. I think they should at least dust that stuff. Then again, the dust is probably holding the quilts and other fabrics together. We visited a historic mansion in Charleston that is also being preserved with the approach of arrested decay and I was sure it was haunted!

    • Haha. Some people collect stamps, some people collect coins, I collect funny memes and cartoons. At least I find them funny… Hopefully other people do too. 🙂

      Mr. Bodey got screwed multiple ways. According to the guidebook, they also don’t know exactly where he’s buried. They misplaced the grave at some point. And now his misspelled name and lost remains will forever be associated with a place that most people find incredibly creepy. Poor guy.

      I think you’re 100% right about the quilts. If they start messing with that stuff, it’ll all fall apart. I would love to see that globe in the schoolhouse up close, but my guess is most of it is faded and if you start cleaning it, I bet the pieces would just chip right off. I think they just had to make the decision to let things be in order to preserve them as long as possible.

  12. How creepy but what a wonderful place to visit. I’m pretty sure you would never catch me living there!

    Where did you stay when you visited? We usually go down 395 on our way south and I’m thinking this would be a good place to visit along the way.

    • We actually stayed in Bishop, which made this a two hour drive each way, but that’s just because of the way our schedule worked out. There are a couple campgrounds right in Bridgeport, which is right outside the park entrance road, as well as a couple down in Lee Vining and June Lake, any of which would be much closer. Just keep in mind that they don’t plow that 13 mile entrance road, so you haver to wait until the snow melts or get there before the first snowfall.

  13. This is such a cool post, Laura; twhat a wonderful tour of Bodie! I’d heard of it but had no idea it was so extensive and interesting (thanks in no small part to our photojournalist here). It’s on my list now for our next drive along 395. I agree with Laurel about the Nope Train meme — I’m saving that one! 😄 But my favorite little Laura quip here is in the caption of the third photo. Hahaha! Of course that occurred to you.

    • Thank you, Heather! I think I need to start sending you and Laurel some of my meme and cartoon finds on a regular basis. They require just the right amount of appreciation for sarcasm, irony, and juvenile humor. I think you two would love many of them. 🙂

  14. I have never been to Bodie and would love to visit before it completely falls apart. My great, great grandfather, Pierre Roussel, was a gold miner in Bodie in the late 1870’s and early 1880’s. Pierre was a scoundrel. His wife, Mary Ann, a cattle rancher with 5 children, filed for divorce in Washoe County, Nevada in 1875, citing Pierre’s abandonment, wife horsewhipping, and general acts of cruelty to the entire family. She had previously bought the ranch with her own money and supported Pierre during the marriage, while he worked the area silver mines. He wanted the ranch in the divorce.

    I have transcribed legal documents from September 1879 in Bodie, which show Pierre purchasing the “Monte Cristo” and the “Red Chief” mine claims on Queen Bee Hill from two men for $10 dollars gold each and then selling the same “Monte Cristo” and “Red Chief” mines a few weeks later, in October 1879, to two different men for $2500 dollar gold each. Quite a nice profit for Pierre! He was a very experienced miner, and at the least probably took advantage of new miners attracted to to the Bodie gold rush, and it’s more likely, knowing Pierre, that he planted some gold pieces at the mining sites to generate interest and demand for his mine claims. If you ever would like to see those transcripts, let me know.

    • How cool is this to hear of a relative that actually lived there! And yes, Pierre does sound like a scoundrel!

    • Wow, that is SO cool, Maura! What are the chances of having an ancestor who was tied to this particular place and who did all the questionable stuff associated with it? I guess it’s no wonder there were so many gunfights with all this going on. I would definitely love to see the transcripts, but in the meantime, what happened with the ranch????

      • I will send you that information tomorrow. Mary Ann Harmon had such an interesting and tragic life. She was 6 years old when her family traveled to California in 1846, having crossed in a wagon on the Oregon trail. Her family traveled part of the way with the infamous Donner Party, but parted ways and took the more traditional route to Oregon, while the Donner Party took the ill-fated shortcut to California.
        Mary Ann and her brother Leroy (born on the Oregon trail) later became the target of vengeful land squatters, (long story) after she and Leroy (parents divorced) inherited land in San Francisco in 1850 after her father died in a cholera epidemic, land that was the subject of a years long contentious court case. There were threats made against her family, her mother’s new husband was murdered and Mary Ann and her younger sister were sent to live in a convent school in San Jose under assumed names. Their 16 year old brother Leroy was not so lucky. He was kidnapped and murdered near their new ranch in Alviso, California. Her mother, Ella, who crossed the Oregon Trail at 18, married 5 times in all and was beaten to death by her last husband (her divorce attorney) on their wedding night. She was only 39 years old.

        Orphaned Mary Ann met Pierre in San Jose California in the 1860’s and they moved to Virginia City, Nevada to mine for silver in the area. Mary Ann bought the ranch with her and her sister’s inheritance. She won her divorce court case against Pierre and kept the ranch. He moved away and would return periodically, but she would never allow him to see his children again.

        She later moved her family to Susanville California where she bought another ranch, got married again, had two more children and became a traveling nurse and midwife. She also bought a restaurant and boarding house and a large horse stables business in Burns, Oregon. There was an established, well traveled supply route between Burns and Susanville. She would ride by horseback from Susanville to Burns regularly ( 5 hour car trip-not sure how long it would take by horse) to tend to her businesses, birth babies and take care of new patients. She missed delivering my grandmother in Burns because she was delivering another grandchild at the time in Susanville. I asked my grandmother when I was in my twenties what Mary Ann was like, and she said “she was cranky and bossy!”.

        • Wow. That literally sounds like the plot to a book or movie. That is incredible. And, honestly, given her life story, I’d say she had every right to be cranky. It is amazing to consider what these folks went through and just how brutal life was. From the hardships of travel and building a new life, to the likelihood of being victimized in one way or another, to the lack of legal rights and protections, to the vicious inhumanity of others, to have come through that time in one piece, is amazing. Actually, now that I think about it, it’s not that much different than what many immigrants deal with today. I guess some things really never do change. And on that depressing note, I am gonna go read the documents you sent me. Thank you so much for sharing all this. It’s incredibly interesting stuff and puts our visit to Bodie in a whole new light.

  15. I would LOVE to visit there!!! Ghost towns are one of my favorite places to explore. I’m surprised so much of the furnishings are still there, first by the fact that much was left, but also that nobody carted it off before the state took over. I might spend a summer there working, but I’d be on your nope train before winter set in.

    • Yeah, I think the summer gig would be much different, and much easier than a winter version. And if you like ghost towns, there’s nowhere better. Plus, given that conversation we had with the summer staffer, I can absolutely promise you there will be at least one available spot next summer. 🙂

  16. Ah, the photos are beautiful in this post! I kind of feel like I just visited Bodie (and I never heard of it despite growing up in California). I was thinking to visit but then that dreaded phrase “unpaved road” appeared. Yikes. Did you camp nearby, sorta nearby, and just use your toad to get to Bodie?

    • Thanks, Annie. The road really isn’t that bad, but it would probably be irritating with your trailer. There are several campgrounds just outside the main road, in Bridgeport, as well as several more farther south near Lee Vining and June Lake. Plus, there are lots of national forest campgrounds and BLM if you’re there in a comfortable season. We just took our tow car, though we did see a couple Class C’s in the parking lot. You should check it out next time you’re nearby. You’d have a field day photographing it!

    • The really crazy thing is, I think we’re only seeing a tiny fraction of what they left behind. From what we heard, it sounds like there were plenty of thieves accessing the property in the years before the state took over. It would be REALLY interesting to see what these houses looked like immediately after the boom years.

  17. Bodie was such a great stop! We LOVED wandering. Looking in the houses and seeing what was was the coolest. You did an awesome job with your informations and your photos. I loved revisiting. Thanks for the memories!!

    • Thanks, Pam! I think we have very similar taste in the places we like to visit. This was another standout park for us for exactly the reasons you loved it. It was just such a cool, one of a kind, memorable experience, and it was the perfect place to just wander and take it all in. We could have easily spent hours more there and would have loved to see the inside of the mill. It was all just fascinating stuff. I’m glad you enjoyed it too!

    • We were supposed to visit Lee Vining and spend lots of time in this area last September, but the wildfires did not allow it. Hence, how we ended up there this past Spring. I hope you have better luck than us. There is a lot to see in that area.

  18. Another terrific post! I love your pictures and writing style. It really feels like I am vicariously traveling along. Thank you for providing such an interesting peek into traveling to a cool but creepy place.

    • Thanks you, Suzanne. I really appreciate it. This was a fun place to visit and write about because it’s just so bizarre. It’s got a cool history, it’s fun to photograph, and it’s totally creepy. Win, win, win. 🙂 I hope you’re still having fun with your blog??

  19. Laura, thanks for making Bodie come alive. You made me feel like I had visited there. After reading this, we are sorry we drove right past this place the last time we were in that area. We have now put it on our list of places to visit. Great photos!

    Love these two sentences:
    Never in a million years would I expect the state to allow these historic structures to be re-purposed for modern use.
    More to the point, never would I expect anyone in their right mind to actually want to live in one of them.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you, Jim! I tell you, the only reason we’ve ended up at most of these places is because I read about them on someone’s blog. These blogs are just a treasure trove of great ideas and they have saved me so much time over the years and inspired so many of our decisions. I feel lucky to have come across such great resources – yours being one of the best. Happy trails!

  20. Well this made for some fascinating reading! So bizarre that there are so many structures, homes that are still exactly the way they were. It feels kind of disturbing on so many levels that they are just slowly deteriorating and accumulating dust. At least maybe they could have cleaned up the mess, like the old mattress, which is probably full of rats. However, very interesting history, sounds like quite the place! Like the description of the number of saloons, and house of ill repute. One certainly gets a good sense of what this then booming town might have been like.

    It is also perhaps a cautionary tale and not to fast forward the past into the urgency of the moment, there is just this week an armed stand off between the native indigenous tribe that have lived in the Amazon for a multitude of generations, trying to defend their land against the encroachment of armed gold miners who are trying to penetrate their communities resources as they want to set up “a booming gold town”. Right in the middle of the Amazon on ancestral land.

    Peta

    • Hey Peta, Glad you found Bodie as interesting as we did. The really crazy thing is just how little is left. According to the park, the 200 structures we see today constituted just 5% of what was once there. It really was a booming town in its day.

      It’s disheartening to hear what’s going on in the Amazon. Just this week we visited several museums and historic sites that memorialize the ups and downs of America’s westward expansion. It seems history just repeats itself, endlessly, all over the world.

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