Photographer's Note

"This is Bodie, or rather the remains of Bodie. Only about five percent of the buildings it contained during its 1880s heyday still remain. Today, it stands just as time, fire and the elements left it - a genuine California gold mining ghost town. Designated a state historical park in 1962, it is now maintained in a state of "arrested decay."

The town of Bodie rose to prominence with the decline of mining along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Prospectors crossing the eastern slope in 1859 to "see the elephant" - that is to search for gold, would discover it in Virginia City, Nevada, and here in this high desert.

By 1879 Bodie boasted a population of about 10,000 and was second to none for wickedness, badmen, and a terrible climate - freezing winters and blistering hot summers. Killings occurred with monotonous regularity, sometimes almost daily. The fire bell which tolled the ages of the deceased when they were buried, rang often and long. Robberies, stage holdups, and street fights provided variety, and the town's 65 saloons offered many opportunities for relaxation after had days of work in the mines. The Reverend F.M. Warrington saw it in 1881 as "a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion."

reference pamphlet: "Bodie State Historic Park"

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Additional Photos by Ray Anderson (photoray) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1203 W: 1 N: 3169] (13981)
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