5 Day / 5 Photo Blog Challenge – Bodie Ghost Town

It is my pleasure to take up this 5 Day / 5 Photo Blog Challenge for which my good friend, author and blogger Susan Scott, Garden of Eden Blog, has nominated me.

bodie state historic park

bodie-alley-300-copy

Bodie Alley

Bodie is described as haunting, desolate, captivating. It is. I was there.

Bodie State Historic Park, Calif., is a ghost town, “preserved in a state of arrested decay.” Interiors of the 110 remaining buildings are untouched as they were left, and it looks like some people left in a hurry, their belongings still strewn about.

In 1859 William (Waterman) S. Bodey discovered gold near here. Mr. Bodey didn’t have much time to revel, though, for in November that same year he died in a blizzard.

In 1861 a rich strike was made and a mill was built.  Over the next years the railroad and the telegraph came and the population swelled from 20  to 10,000. It is said there existed three breweries, 65 saloons, an abundance of brothels, a Chinatown, opium dens and a Wells Fargo Bank. There were gunslingers and shootouts. It was a full-on Wild West town. Bodie became the second or third largest California town and one of the earliest United States towns to acquire electricity. The big strikes were soon depleted, though, and the town slid into decline in the 1880s. Miners moved on to Tombstone, Ariz., and other legendary places. Bodie was officially labeled a ghost town in 1915, after the last newspaper closed. The ghost town was designated Bodie State Historic Park in 1962 when the last residents left.

Bodie, just north of Mono Lake, a salt lake, is located at Bridgeport, Calif., near the Nevada border, just below where the eastern border of the state bends to the right. Bodie is northeast of Yosemite and about 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe, on high, open hills. The Clint Eastwood movie “High Plains Drifter” was filmed at Mono Lake. The production company built a large façade town at Mono Lake just for the filming.

Even in its boom days, I wonder how residents survived Bodie winters. It is one of the coldest places in the U.S. Up in the Eastern High Sierra Nevada Mountains, elevation 8,375 feet (2,554 m.), where the winds sweep through (up to 100 miles per hour, according to Wikipedia), Bodie has a subarctic climate — temperatures even on summer nights can drop below freezing. The most snow recorded in one month was 97.1 inches in January 1969. Bear in mind, the snow doesn’t melt until spring. The population of Bodie is now a few park rangers and assorted ghosts. The rangers use snowcats to get around through the deep snow. The park is open in the winter, but only to those with skis, snowshoes or snowmobiles. I have visited Bodie in the daytime, in May. I dream of returning with a digital camera to take a nighttime Ghost Walk.

The ghost town is a National Historic Landmark.

The timeline on this site linked below is interesting, plus there are some great photos:

http://www.bodie.com

Here are links to more Bodie history:

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509

http://www.yosemitegold.com/yosemite/bodie.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodie,_California

The movie “Hell’s Heroes,” released in 1929, was filmed in Bodie, just before the second big fire in 1932, leaving Bodie as we see it today:

–Samantha

 

10 Responses to 5 Day / 5 Photo Blog Challenge – Bodie Ghost Town

  1. Hi,
    I can honestly say Bodie would not be a place I would settle down in or a place where I would have desired to be born. It is much too cold and since I have an intense dislike for cold weather, I wouldn’t go there.
    Thank you for the pictures, the history and the film clippings.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

    • Bodie’s great in the summertime, Patricia, but, as with you, I would not like to be there in the winter. It just goes to show, some people will do anything for gold.

      So glad you took the time out of your full itinerary to come by and visit Bodie on my blog. 🙂

      Shalom,
      Samantha

  2. Just to add – and to ask – the Louis L’Amour novels – weren’t they about cowboys and such like? I remember reading these highly charged, quick paced novels under the blankets the night before school exams.

    • Yes, Susan, Louis L’Amour, Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry among other authors wrote Western novels. I haven’t read them, but my favorite, probably is Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove.” I haven’t read the novel but I saw the movie, the series, featuring Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones and Angelica Huston, a gritty, desolate saga set in Texas.

      Gripping stories.

      There is another movie I really like and have watched several times, “Tombstone” (1993), about Wyatt Earp and his brothers, starring Kurt Russell, Tom Paxton and Sam Elliott. The ambience reminds me of Bodie.

  3. Hi Samantha .. extraordinary ghost town – you can see why they filmed there … ‘beautiful views’. Fun to see – thanks for sharing and yes also we can see where the idea of cowboy movies came from.

    Glad you’ve taken on the mantle of the 5 day photo blog challenge … I’m still managing to stay clear of blogging – til mid September …

    I enjoyed the story line and the photo .. and the video … cheers Hilary

    • Hi Hilary. I love that area up there in the Eastern High Sierra. I have lots of photos. I may do an A-Z Challenge on photos or sense of place next year and include some of these Eastern Sierra photos.

      Nice that you are taking time off from blogging. I’m getting pretty blogged out, myself. Don’t get much else done — including the dusting — and Moriarty doesn’t dust, so….

      Thanks for coming by. 🙂

      Cheers,
      Samantha

  4. Most interesting Samantha thank you! That really was the wild west. I can see where Clint Eastwood got his inspiration for cowboy movies. Amazing to see the preacher man get out his gun and shoot. As Gwynn says, educational. May your dream come true to visit at nighttime; hopefully the Phantom will help you record. And to have Dickens there to help sniff out ghosts may be useful …

    • Since I was a child I loved the Wild West, Susan. So, I was thrilled when we flew to Tucson when I was 16, in 1958 — I was in cowboy country, just like Roy Rogers! Tucson was wide open spaces in those days — Arizona was. And I’ve always loved Tombstone. Then when more than 30 years later I got to spend time up in the Eastern High Sierra, there I was again — in cowboy country. So many westerns have been filmed up there, including all of Gene Autry’s pictures. I love it up there in that high, dry air and the mountains and the sagebrush.

      I have photos of inside that Bodie church. There’s a really old little pipe organ in there. And, yes Moriarty and Dickens may help me connect tithe the ghost prospectors and ghost dogs.

      So, if I’m out there while you’re visiting Susan in Arizona, then you’ll have to come on over and we can visit nighttime Bodie together. What’s truly amazing are the stars blanketing the night sky and the satellites among them. No artificial lights around for miles and miles.

  5. WOW! I’ve been close to the Brodie area but never there. In fact, I didn’t know about it. Thanks for the educational and fun treat! Great job!