Bodie Gold Mine and Ghost Town

Apr 19, 2021 View Comments by

Bodie is a ghost town in the Bodie hills east of the Sierra Nevada.

It became a boom town in 1876 when gold was discovered there and by 1879 it had a population of around 6,000 people and 2,000 houses. One legend suggests that in 1880 it was California’s second or third largest city. It had banks, a fire brigade, a brass band, railroad, workers unions, newspapers and a jail. It also had a red light district and a small Chinatown.

Murders, shootouts, barroom brawls and stagecoach holdups were regular occurrences.

Bullion from the town’s nine stamp mills was shipped to Carson City, Nevada with armed escorts.

Over the years Bodies mines produced gold valued at $34 million.

After the boom times of 1880 the town went into steady decline as prospectors moved to new and richer finds elsewhere.

By 1910 the population was down to 698. The Last newspaper closed in 1912 and by 1917 the railway was scrapped.

The last mine closed in 1942 although the town had already been described as a ghost town back in 1919.

The town was designated a National Historic landmark in 1961 and is now run as a State Historic Park.

170 buildings remain.

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