Saturday, September 25, 2010

Goodbye, God, I'm Going to Bodie

That is what one little girl wrote in her diary when her family moved here.

Today, Bodie is the best preserved ghost town in California. Gold was discovered here in 1859 and by 1879, the town boasted a population of about 10,000.

Only about five percent of the buildings still remain, including the Methodist Church, which the residents apparently really needed. In 1881, the Rev. Warrington saw Bodie as "a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion."

The Ten Commandments, which once hung behind the pulpit ("Thou shalt not steal"), has been stolen.

Great rusty stuff abounds! I especially liked the old cars half buried in the grass.

Some of the buildings are not in the greatest shape - this one is propped up with a big board. California is maintaining the town in a state of "arrested decay,"

The Bodie Odd Fellows Lodge (IOOF) used the upper floor of this building.

The first floor was an undertaking business. Many buildings were still furnished, including the morgue next door. I was a little skeptical about how this could be...

The Sam Leon Bar was just one of the 65 saloons in town. Here's one reason for my skepticism - why would people just leave their chips here?

The old barber shop -

And the Boone Store and Warehouse. The general store was owned by a descendant of Daniel Boone.

The mine area is unsafe and not open to the public. Between 1860 and 1941 the Bodie Mining District produced close to $100 million in gold and silver.

And what's this? The DirecTV store?


  1. Purdy cool. Seems "Bodie" is a common name for Ghost towns. There is one in North Central WA too. Not as much to see but plenty of evidence of dreams abandoned.

  2. Loved the ghost town!! I love old buildings, so many dreams gone awry.

  3. Great Pictures. Reminds me of some of the old mining towns in CO.

  4. amazing place! GIRL that shot of the old cars is awesome..I love the processing you put on it..Perfect shot!!!
    I cant believe they left without cashing in those chips either...and 65 saloons? WOW thats a lotttt of liqour---
    wonder what the satellite dish is for?
    Safe travels to you guys!

  5. Diana ~

    I don't make comments on your blog very often but just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading about your time in Oregon and California. We live in southern Oregon and have been all the various places you've been (lived in Portland for many year). We were in Bodie, CA just a couple years ago. Had been there some 40 years ago, then camped near Bridgeport- up in the mountains. Bodie is still a wonderful "find" after all these years. And your pictures really tell the story.


  6. I especially love the picture of the church. Maybe it's still in good shape because nobody used it.

  7. The truck and the car with the buildings behind is a top notch photo! Cool beans! :)

  8. We love ghost towns and this one looks great. Another item to add to our list.

    Kevin and Ruth

  9. I really enjoyed the pics of Bodie, thanks. I will have to put it on my list of must see places.


  10. Gee, the church looks awesome. I am trying to imagine 65 saloons???I so appreciate your blog. Take Care, Sheryl

  11. That shot of the rusting cars is simply fantastic! What an interesting place to visit.

  12. How do you keep finding these amazing places? And the pictures are incredible, what an eye you have for beauty even in the rust.

    Love you sense of humor, too!

    PS: The spots on the walls are the spackle where pictures and curtains used to more!

  13. Love the pictures and the story. Will have to visit this town before it falls down.

  14. The comments about the chips seem to be directed toward some gambler walking off and leaving them there. They were more likely the house 'bank' and when the game folded they were left.
    I am more surprised that they are still there because old gambling chips are now worth far more than face value to collectors. Why are they not stolen, I don't know.

  15. what a great history lesson, i would love to see it back when the place was hoppin hehe

  16. I spent my wedding night in Bodie. = )


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