While we don’t usually think much about the old mining towns from the 1800’s, there is one that is seemingly frozen in time in the Nevada deserts. This is Bodie Ghost Town, a town on the border between California and Nevada. The town is technically located within California and is taken care of by the California State Parks System and still looks the same as it did over 50 years ago when they took over control. click here for more details.
The town was a typical gold rush town, springing up around a few small buildings and growing quickly when a mill, church, saloon, and other buildings were added. Over the course of 20 years it came to hold 10,000 people and had several hundred buildings, not counting the homes. It was well known for having the largest number of saloons in the area and was considered the place to go for entertainment back in the day.
Today, the town is dusty and eerie, with rumors of ghosts haunting the area. The town was quickly abandoned once the gold in the area ran out and the climate proved to be less than desirable for farming. The town was mostly bought out by the Cain family by 1915, with the railroad closing down within a few years. It took another 25 years for the mines to close, but when they closed they had not turned a profit for several years.
A number of towns now exist within 30 miles of Bodie, but that doesn’t mean that Bodie is bustling with visitors. Instead, it is one of the emptier state parks, which allows visitors to truly enjoy the wild west atmosphere without waiting in long lines and worrying that they will be unable to get any good pictures.
Getting to the park can seem a bit tricky, but taking State Highway 395 leads to a 14 mile road that offers an extremely scenic look at the area around the ghost town.
Once in the town, everything from a saloon to the old mining company are available for viewing. People can walk through the town and see everything in exactly the same condition it was abandoned in towards the beginning of the last century. Much of the town is made of wood that has now greyed and is covered in dust, making the town even spookier than it previously was. There is a recommended tour path and each of the buildings has historical information available on plaques, within booklets, or in other forms to people who take the tour.
While the town was once known for murder, gambling, drinking, a thriving red light district, and more, today it is eerily still and open to anyone who wants to look. The expert preservation that has been done by the California Parks Department has ensured that it will be available for viewing by generations to come. A quick trip over the border from Nevada will transport you into the past and let you see what it was really like to be a gold miner back in the day.