One of the wildest California ghost towns ever was a town named Bodie. People mined for gold during the day and partied hard with liquor, drugs and prostitutes at night. Gun fights were a nightly occurrence in this old wild west!
A New Yorker named, William S. Bodey, found the first gold in these hills in the 1800's. He died a few months later in a snow storm. But the rush to find gold brought people from all over and a mining town was born with Bodey's name on it. Someone misspelled his name and the town became Bodie.
At its peak, Bodie was home to about 10,000 people. 2,000 buildings filled this area. With gold being found daily and silver being mined nearby, this area brought out the worst in people.
At one time, a one mile stretch in the center of town had 65 saloons on it. Drugs were easily bought and used here. Prostitution had its own red light district. Stage coaches were robbed regularly. Gambling was a regular activity here. Saloon brawls and gunfights were nightly occurrence in the town of Bodie too.
A huge fire in 1892 and 1932 and an major earthquake sent the
residence away from Bodie. By 1915 it was declared a California ghost
town and in 1962 it became a State Historic Park.
Today about 100 buildings still stand for you to walk through. You'll be given a map of the town and told about its violent history and its occupants when you come. This is a self guided tour with many historians available to answer your questions.
You can look through windows and walk through open buildings at your leisure. Some of the buildings that you will see are: a church, houses, a sawmill, saloons, a bank, an ice house, hotels, a school, a post office, a cemetery, a firehouse and a store.
The ghost town of Bodie is open year around. There is tons of snow in the winter and it can get pretty windy here with winds kicking up to 100 miles per hour. Summer is definitely the best time to visit. During the summer, they are open from 9am to 7pm. The rest of the year they are open from 9 am till 4 pm. The cost is $2 a person. It is 13 miles off of Highway 395. Close to Yosemite's Highway 120 entrance.
They say that if you take anything from Bodie, you will have bad luck. The luck being so bad that you beg to return it for the bad stuff to stop. Bodie was a real western ghost town and it's worth a visit. Kids love this place!
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