Posted by: GeekHiker | July 25, 2007

Bodie & The Eastern Sierras, Part 2

There are many things to be seen along the 395, of which we only managed to cover a few on our trip.  Today I’ll start with the preeminent attraction, Bodie, and hopefully cover the other sights we saw tomorrow.


The ghost town of Bodie is, quite simply, everything a ghost town should be.  It covers a large area, has dozens of old buildings, and a classic old west history.

 Bodie Panorama

Panoramic View of Bodie from the City Cemetary


Bodie’s history begins at the end of the Gold Rush in the western Sierra Nevada (a history I was steeped in as a child) when miners traveled east in search of a share of the Comstock Load.  By 1879, Bodie’s population was over 10,000 people and had a reputation.  A very, very bad reputation.  As one little girl wrote in her diary upon learning she was going to Bodie: “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.”

The town’s 65 saloons no doubt helped to fuel this reputation, as did the sometimes daily killings.  Bodie was, in every sense, the lawless wild west town.

As with all ghost towns, Bodie’s time ended when the mines played out.  It held a permanent residency through most of the 20th century, but today no one lives there.

Today, Bodie is a California State Historic Park, a designation awarded in 1962, one year after it’s designation as a National Historic Landmark.  The town is kept in a state of “arrested decay” where the buildings are preserved as is, attempting to stop further decay but making no effort at restoration.

Walking around the town, one is encouraged to peek into peek into the windows.  The schoolhouse still has books on the children’s desks and a writing lesson on the chalkboard.  The morgue has a selection of coffins in all sizes, including childrens, to choose from.  The stores have goods available for sale.

The best part of Bodie, of course, is walking down the street, knowing this ghostly place was real, filled with people living out their lives and attempting to find their fortunes, and not so long ago.

Bodie Houses

Houses in Bodie.

 Bodie Shop

Looking into the shop windows.

 Bodie Shell Sign

They probably complained about the price of gas then, too.

 Bodie Main Street

Along Main Street.

 Bodie Stamp Mill

The Stamp Mill & Assay Office Complex.

Visiting Bodie: Bodie is located 13 miles east of Hwy. 395.  From seven miles south of Bridgeport, turn left on to  State Route 270, also known as the Bodie Road.  The first 10 miles are paved, the last three are graded dirt road.  The last three miles can be rough, but are passable by passenger vehicle.



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