Bodie Ghost Town



Location: 75 mi (120 km) Southeast of Lake Tahoe   Map

Found: 1859


Description of Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town is one of the most beautiful and spectacular abandoned settlements in United States. In essence it a time frozen in time with all buildings, people's items and cars left in place where they were left by people. Town of Bodie in California was named after Waterman S. (Bill) Bodey who discovered large gold deposit north of Mono Lake in 1859. Unfortunately for him a winter storm caught him off guard and he froze to death. A mining camp on the gold mine site was named after him.


Things were going slow for Bodie until 1875 then a large pocket of precious metal was discovered after an accidental cave in. It quickly swelled to 10,000 residents. Resident homes, stores and 65 saloons lined its busy streets. With large amount of cash came violence and sin. In addition to common vices like gambling, prostitution, theft and others killings reached incredible proportions. "The Bad Man from Bodie" became a legend. One of the local pastors described Bodie as "a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion". It did not last too long however. Mining extracted much of gold from surrounding mountains  and two major fires in 1892 and 1932 swept through the area. Since then no restoration or rebuilding have touched this truly gem of a ghost towns.


In the 1940s, the threat of vandalism faced the ghost town. The Cain family, who owned much of the land, hired caretakers to protect and to maintain the town's structures. Martin Gianettoni, one of the last three people living in Bodie in 1943, was a caretaker.

Bodie is now an authentic Wild West ghost town.

The town was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961, and in 1962 the state legislature authorized creation of Bodie State Historic Park. A total of 170 buildings remained. Bodie has been named as California's official state gold rush ghost town.

Visitors arrive mainly via SR 270, which runs from US 395 near Bridgeport to the west; the last three miles of it is a dirt road. There is also a road to SR 167 near Mono Lake in the south, but this road is extremely rough, with more than 10 miles of dirt track in a bad state of repair. Due to heavy snowfall, the roads to Bodie are usually closed in winter.

Today, Bodie is preserved in a state of arrested decay. Only a small part of the town survived, with about 110 structures still standing, including one of many once operational gold mills. Visitors can walk the deserted streets of a town that once was a bustling area of activity. Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods. Littered throughout the park, one can find small shards of china dishes, square nails and an occasional bottle, but removing these items is against the rules of the park.

The California State Parks' ranger station is located in one of the original homes on Green Street.

In 2009 and again in 2010, Bodie was scheduled to be closed. The California state legislature worked out a budget compromise that enabled the state's Parks Closure Commission to keep it open. As of 2012, the park is still operating, now administered by the Bodie Foundation.



Bodie General store

Bodie General Store was once owned by Harvey Boone a direct descendant of a legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone. He also ran a livery business and owned a stable in the city.