BodieGhostTown

Bodie is a gold mining Ghost Town in the Eastern Sierras north of Mono Lake.

A boom town from 1877-1880, by 1910 it had radically declined in population
from over 8,000 down to 700 people. By 1920 it had 110 people, and in 1943
only three people were left. Much of the town burned in 1932, and only a small part
remains, preserved in a state of “arrested decay” as a California State Historic Park.

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50 images of the gold mining boom town north of Mono Lake
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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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Bodie_Head_Frame_Steam_Hoist_4421


Bodie Head Frame Steam Hoist 4421
(608 KB)

Head Frame and Steam Hoist machinery near the parking area at the western end of Bodie Ghost Town.

Bodie_Saw_Mill_3270


Bodie Saw Mill 3270
(554 KB)

The small Saw Mill cut firewood, desperately needed to stave off 100 mph winds and 30 degree below zero temperatures.

Bodie_Ghost_Town_4422_pano


Bodie Ghost Town 4422 pano
(404 KB)

Bodie Ghost Town from the west, just beyond the Head Frame and Steam Hoist machinery.
The McDonald House is in the center, left of the leaning outhouse. Beyond is the Methodist Church.
 Green Street extends from right to left, and the junction of Fuller St. and Green St. is at left center.

Bodie_Ghost_Town_4423_pano_ST


Bodie Ghost Town 4423 pano Sepia Tone
(324 KB)

A sepia toned image showing Fuller Street houses at the far left, the McDonald house and
the Methodist Church at the far right, and Green Street houses climbing the hill at left center.

Bodie_Ghost_Town_4453


Bodie Ghost Town 4453
(440 KB)

Bodie Ghost Town from the southwest. In the left center is the Methodist Church.

Bodie was founded in 1859 after Waterman (William) S. Bodey, a tinsmith from Poughkeepsie, NY
and three other men crossed the Sierras from Tuolomne County in search of gold. They discovered
a mining site in the hills above Mono Lake. Unfortunately, Bodey and Black Taylor were caught in
 the November 1859 blizzard. Bodey succumbed, and Taylor covered him with a blanket and left
the mine to save himself. He returned in the spring to bury Bodey’s bones. In his honor, the
town was named Bodey (later changed to Bodie when an Aurora painter labeled a sign
“Bodie Stables” and the name stuck). Later, other rich deposits were found. 1875’s
discovery of the Bullion Lode when a cave-in uncovered a gold-bearing ledge,
and 1879’s discovery of the Fortuna Lode would make Bodie the source of
$34 million dollars in gold... a very large amount of money in those days.

Bodie_Green_St_Standard_Mill_4455


Bodie Green St Standard Mill 4455
(442 KB)

Bodie Ghost Town from the south. The gray buildings on the hill at left are the Standard Mill.

Bodie was a famously wild mining camp. At its height, nearly 8000 people lived in
the town, braving the winter cold and 100 mile per hour winds in inadequate housing
to make their fortunes in the Mono County Desert. The “Bad Man from Bodie” had some
basis in fact, even though most of the stories were fabrications by newspaper editors from
San Francisco and as far away as New York... these and the false reports of mineral strikes
were intended to manipulate stock prices. The story of the little girl who wrote in her diary:
“Good-bye God, we’re going to Bodie in the morning.” was reported widely. What was not
picked up was the response published in a Bodie daily,1879: “We would like to make a
slight correction to the punctuation of the above. It should read: ‘Good. By God we are
going to Bodie in the morning’.” At any rate, the murders, lynchings, and generally
wild character of this and other booming gold towns was legendary, but Bodie
was located out in the middle of nowhere, and in 1880 it was determined
that Bodie’s gold would only sustain a few mines. Folks left in droves.
For another 30 years, Bodie’s mines supported a population of 800
(mostly miners working for wages and their families), but the ore
was poor and eventually it was admitted that it was not profitable
enough to run the expensive pumps to work the lower levels. In 1913,
Standard (the most prolific Mill and Mine) gave up and the end was near.
A few prospectors and the occasional financed concern tried their luck but
Bodie never recovered, and eventually everyone left but a few die-hards.
Today, Bodie is the West’s largest and best-preserved Ghost Town.

Bodie_Methodist_Church_4425


Bodie Methodist Church 4425
(371 KB)

The Methodist Church was built in 1882, and is the only church left standing after the 1932 fire burned the Catholic Church. The last church service was conducted in 1932, when much of the remaining population left Bodie.

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Bodie Methodist Church 4427
(401 KB)

The front of the Methodist Church (the small wooden structure to the right of the door is a wood shed which was added on after the church was built).

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Bodie Methodist Church 4426
(352 KB)

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Bodie Methodist Church 4447
(405 KB)

The front of the Bodie Methodist Church, built in 1882.
There were only two churches in Bodie, but there were 65 saloons.
The 4400-series images were all taken on a cold day just before Christmas.

Bodie_Methodist_Church_3251


Bodie Methodist Church 3251
(380 KB)

This image and all other 3200-series images were taken on a Spring visit,
 while I was conducting a May photographic training session at Yosemite NP.

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Bodie Methodist Church 3253
(350 KB)

The front of the 1882 Methodist Church in Bodie Ghost Town, in the hills north of Mono Lake.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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Bodie_Dolan_House_4424


Bodie Dolan House 4424
(578 KB)

Home to two Mono County Sheriffs (James and Bert Dolan), and James’ wife Cordelia, a Mono Co. teacher for 40 years.

Bodie_Dr_Street_House_4445


Bodie Dr. Street House 4445
(658 KB)

Dr. John Street’s house, on the corner of Green Street and Wood Street, next to the Quinville house (below).

Bodie_Seiler_Cameron_Bell_Houses_3272


Bodie Seiler Cameron Bell Houses 3272
(535 KB)

Seiler (left) owned one of the 65 Bodie saloons. The Cameron House (center) was later lived in by J.S. Cain (see below). Lester E. Bell was a good friend of Cain’s who worked at the Standard Mill. He later ran Cain’s Cyanide Leaching plant.

Bodie_Selhorn_House_4444


Bodie Selhorn House 4444
(546 KB)

The Selhorn house (right), down the block from Dr. Street’s. The Mystery House (left) is one of many in Bodie which have no existing information (that I can find). Rather than calling it an “unidentified house”, I called it the “Mystery House”.

The Cyanide Leaching process for extracting gold from worthless mine tailings and
low-grade ore was perfected in Bodie, and J.S. Cain’s cyanide plant was the largest
plant of its kind in the United States. Lester E. Bell was in charge of Cain’s cyanide plant.
Lester’s son (Lester L. Bell) later became an assayer for the Bodie mining companies.

Bodie_Miller_JSCain_Houses_4428


Bodie Miller JS Cain Houses 4428
(527 KB)

Tom Miller lived in the house at left. He worked at Mono Mills for the Mono Lake Railway
and Lumber Company, which supplied much of the Jeffrey Pine used in Bodie construction.
James Stuart Cain lived in the house at right. He moved to Bodie at 25, and ended up being
the principal property owner in town. He started by putting lumber barges on Mono Lake to
supply wood for the mine shafts, construction, and fuel (big business in Bodie). He later
leased a piece of land from Standard Mining and extracted $90,000 worth of gold in
90 days. Standard refused to renew the lease, but Cain later took control of the mill
through court action, bought the Bodie Bank and much of the property in Bodie,
and became one of the richest men in town. His family owned most of Bodie.

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Bodie Quinville House 4446
(840 KB)

Frank Quinville’s house is near Dr. Street’s house. Quinville worked as a blacksmith at the Standard Mill.

Bodie_Rusted_Car_4442


Bodie Rusted Car 4442
(651 KB)

The rusted car in front of the Gregory House off Green Street. The Fire House can be seen in the upper left corner.

Bodie_Rusted_Dreams_4441


Bodie Rusted Dreams 4441
(622 KB)

A rusted car stands beside the Gregory house off Green Street in Bodie Ghost Town.
Nathan Gregory operated a cattle ranch between Bodie and Aurora. His son Spence,
a mining engineer, retired to this house and was one of the last residents in Bodie.

Bodie_Desolation_4454


Bodie Desolation 4454
(433 KB)

The last house at the south edge of Bodie. Along with its desolation,
the winds which reached 100 miles per hour, and temperatures that
could drop to as low as 30 degrees below zero (and colder), Bodie
was known more for its lawlessness and murders than its riches.

No wonder one little girl, whose family was leaving for the mining town,
wrote in her diary “Goodbye, God, I’m going to Bodie”, a phrase which
would become famous throughout the West (and is still known today).

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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Bodie_Leaning_Outhouse_4449


Bodie Leaning Outhouse 4449
(594 KB)

A leaning outhouse at the McDonald house near the Church.

Bodie_Leaning_Outhouse_3256


Bodie Leaning Outhouse 3256
(449 KB)

Another leaning outhouse next to the Lester E. Bell Stable.

Bodie_LE_Bell_Stable_3263


Bodie LE Bell Stable 3263
(457 KB)

Lester E. Bell’s Stable, behind his house shown earlier (image 3272).
The skeletal roof of the L.E. Bell Stable is a well-known Bodie landmark.

Bodie_Ghost_Town_Green_Street_4435


Bodie Ghost Town Green Street 4435
(568 KB)

Houses on Green Street, with a blocky tower atop the hill. Note the house at lower left (in the center of image 4452).

Bodie_Store_Schoolhouse_Green_St_4452


Bodie Store Schoolhouse Green St 4452
(654 KB)

The Bodie Store (with the visible gas pumps) is at right. Behind it is the Schoolhouse and houses on Green Street.

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Bodie Gas Pumps 3301
(424 KB)

1920s vintage Visible Gas Pumps and Shell Gasoline signs.

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Bodie Gas Pumps 3303
(430 KB)

A different angle of the Visible Gas Pumps at Bodie.

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Bodie Boone Window Display 3305
(352 KB)

A window display in the Boone Store and Warehouse. Built in 1879 by Harvey Boone (a descendant of Daniel Boone), the store contains several original Edison light bulbs which have been continuously burning for many years.

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Bodie Boone Window Display 3306c
(353 KB)

There are many items in the store windows which have brand names that are still in production today, such as Kellogg’s, St. Joseph’s, Trojan, and Colgate. Boone owned several other businesses, and operated in Bodie longer than anyone else.

Bodie_Ghost_Town_Cat_3267


Bodie Ghost Town Cat 3267
(603 KB)

A Ghost Town Cat walks down Main Street in Bodie. The Hose Shed and Assay Office
of the Standard Mill and the Hoover House are at left (home of Theodore Hoover, manager
of the Standard Mill and brother of Herbert Hoover, who would later be President of the USA).
Uphill from the Cat are the Occidental Barn and several other houses owned by Standard Mill
employees (Klipstein, Dolan, Burkham, Durham, etc.). At the right center is the Fire House.

Bodie_Fulton_Stable_Firehouse_3265


Bodie Fulton Stable Firehouse 3265
(604 KB)

The Fulton Stable off Main Street in the foreground right, with the Fire House at left center.

Bodie_Fulton_Stable_Main_Street_3265_3267


Bodie Fulton Stable Main Street 3265 3267
(1600 x 693, 500 KB)

A panoramic composite of the two images above, with the Hoover House and Main Street houses,
the Ghost Town Cat, the Fire House and the Fulton Stable. The full-sized composite is 4331 x 1750.

Bodie_Fire_House_and_Outhouses_4438


Bodie Fire House and Outhouses 4438
(668 KB)

A small outhouse leans against another, with the Bodie Firehouse in the background.
The lone Bodie Fire Station was once one of four independent fire companies in town.
After confusion between the four companies during a fire at the Central Market, the four
companies were combined into one, and fire districts were laid out for each to serve.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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Bodie_Miners_Union_Dechambeau_IOOF_4431


Bodie Miner’s Union Dechambeau IOOF 4431
(401 KB)

The Miner’s Union Hall (foreground), the IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) and the Dechambeau Hotel (and Post Office) are at the corner of Green Street and Main Street.

Bodie_Boardwalk_Dechambeau_IOOF_3287


Bodie Boardwalk Dechambeau IOOF 3287
(439 KB)

The IOOF (Odd Fellows) Hall at center was once a meeting hall and “health club”, where members would work out with barbells. The Dechambeau Hotel is in the left distance.

The Miner’s Union Hall was the site of Methodist and Catholic services before the churches
were built. It also hosted the Fireman’s Ball for each of the four fire companies to raise money
for uniforms and equipment before they were finally merged into one company. It even held a
rough-and-tumble series of wrestling matches in 1880, where a local stone cutter beat a
professional wrestler from San Francisco and a local from Bodie (then got married).

The Miner’s Union Hall now houses the Bodie Museum.

Bodie_Dechambeau_IOOF_4432


Bodie Dechambeau IOOF 4432
(479 KB)

Old wagons in the space between the Miner’s Union Hall and the IOOF (Odd Fellows) Hall.

Bodie_Dechambeau_IOOF_3294


Bodie Dechambeau IOOF 3294
(467 KB)

The Dechambeau Hotel (left) started out as the Post Office in 1879, became a rooming
house, and then became the Dechambeau Hotel and Bar. The Odd Fellows Lodge
was originally started in 1878 on the upper floor, while the bottom floor was used
as the Bodie Athletic Club (right) and as the Undertaker’s (a booming business).

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Bodie Arrested Decay 3291
(545 KB)

Many of the buildings in Bodie have been reinforced and shored up, as has the Miner’s Union Hall at left.

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Bodie Barn and Well 3309
(511 KB)

The Barn and Well behind the Miner’s Union Hall, seen in the background of the image at left.

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Bodie Buggy Wheel 3275
(406 KB)

Detail of a Buggy Wheel and axle in a barn at Bodie.

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Bodie Ore Wagon 3308
(667 KB)

Ore Wagon outside the Miner’s Union Hall, at the corner of Green Street and Main Street in Bodie.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

Sunburst3
Bodie_Ghost_Town_4456


Bodie Ghost Town 4456
(581 KB)

A lone shack standing in a field to the south of Bodie.

Bodie_Swazey_Hotel_3280


Bodie Swazey Hotel 3280
(632 KB)

The Swazey Hotel on the corner of Main and Green Streets.

Bodie_Swazey_Hotel_4434


Bodie Swazey Hotel 4434
(384 KB)

At different times, this building served as a clothing store,
a casino, and the Swazey Hotel. It leans quite a bit to the left,
and as Bodie is being maintained in a state of arrested decay,
it had to be shored up and reinforced (as have other buildings).

Bodie_Swazey_Hotel_Green_Street_3297


Bodie Swazey Hotel Green Street 3297
(472 KB)

The Swazey Hotel and Green Street (in the distance), taken on a Spring day with a storm rolling into Bodie.

Bodie_Swazey_Hotel_Main_Street_4439


Bodie Swazey Hotel Main Street 4439
(613 KB)

The rear of the Swazey Hotel and Main Street buildings. From this side you can see the interior and exterior reinforcements.

In the image above right, Main Street buildings in the background are the IOOF (left),
Miner’s Union Hall (center, behind the Swazey Hotel), and the Bodie Morgue (far right).

Bodie_Swazey_Hotel_Green_Street_4433


Bodie Swazey Hotel Green Street 4433
(464 KB)

The Swazey Hotel and Green Street in December. Just beyond the Swazey Hotel,
the building with the tower is the Schoolhouse, originally the Bon Ton Lodging House.
After the Bon Ton building was burned down and rebuilt, it was converted to a school.
The interior still contains the desks, books and other furnishings abandoned in 1932.

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Bodie Standard Mill 3283
(464 KB)

The Standard Mill processed ore from the Standard Mine (originally the Bunker Hill Mine).
In its heyday, the mill processed more than $14 million worth of gold and silver in 25 years.

This is the most intact mill in the state of California, and it was also the only mill in Bodie
that was run off of hydroelectric power. Cordwood to fuel the steam engines cost over
$22,000 a year, and to reduce expenses as yields started to go down, Standard put
in a Westinghouse hydroelectric station powered by Green Creek 12.5 miles away.
It was one of the earliest long-distance transmission lines built in the United States.

The innovation of the cyanide leaching process, allowing extraction of metals
from the old mine tailings and low-grade ore, increased profits for a while.

Bodie_Standard_Mill_4437


Bodie Standard Mill 4437
(485 KB)

The Standard Mill was originally named the Bunker Hill when it was first built in 1861.
The original wooden mill burned down in 1898 and was rebuilt with a wood frame
that was covered with sheets of corrugated steel for additional fire resistance.

Click to open the larger image. At the top of the hill you can see a pole.
From this pole, a gondola designed and built by Andrew Halliday carried
the ore from the mine to the mill on a cable loop which automatically opened
the bottom of the gondola to dump ore and returned to the top of the hill.
This saved dozens of horses and men several hours per load of ore.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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