Bodie may very well be the best historic example of a wild west gold mining boomtown, and the very best modern-day example of a ghost town. Dozens of long-empty houses still stand, many with furniture still inside. Scattered about the town, you’ll also find old mining equipment, now frozen from old age.
This equipment is some of the first you’ll encounter, right by Bodie’s main parking area.
They had electricity, but not indoor plumbing. Back in Bodie’s boom days, this was among the town’s most modern facilities. (The park now features toilets that actually flush!)
A few old houses in Bodie are open, and allow you to walk inside. At others, you can peer in through the dusty window panes. Most have warped floors and paper peeling from the walls.
The town had everything you’d expect to find on main street…
…including a soda fountain…
… and a church. Actually, there were several places of worship, and many more buildings, before fire swept through the town, back in 1932, destroying 90 percent of the buildings. The town couldn’t rebuild after that catastrophe, and almost all the people who lived here, took off in a hurry.
The bell tower above the Methodist Church.
A view of Bodie from inside the shell of an old car.
Bodie’s version of a junkyard.
This conveniently placed hole probably provided a lookout for folks inside an outhouse.
The town’s filling station, installed long before you could pay at the pump.
These gas pumps are now dry, so you’d better hope you filled up before you left the main highway.
The view down Green Street, looking toward the center of town.
The Standard Stamp Mill is off limits to casual tourists, but if you’re really interested, you can sign up for a guided tour. Park rangers may lead visitors through the old mill 2-3 times a day. Check at the guard booth or the museum for more info. (The land around the stamp mill is also very dangerous, and therefore, off limits.)
Another old piece of machinery.
By the way, most of the Bodie facts you’ve read here (and much more) can be found on the official Bodie SHP site, or in the helpful guidebook available at the guard station.
Leaving Bodie – CA Hwy. 270
Chances are, you weren’t looking behind you, as you made your way to Bodie. If that’s the case, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the Sierra Nevada views awaiting you on the drive back to the 21st century.
Hard to believe the next leg of our journey will take us over these mountains, isn’t it?
Rte. 270 doesn’t actually begin until you’re back on pavement, three miles from Bodie.
Note: This trip was first published in 2004. I visited Bodie again in 2015. You can check out that visit here.