Here you'll see what's left of Bodie. An original ghost town
from the late 1800's. Bodie stands today in a state of
"arrested decay". So coined by the State of California when
they took over the town in 1962 to make it a State Historic
In 1859 William (a.k.a.
Waterman) S. Bodey
discovered gold near what is
now called Bodie Bluff. A mill
was established in 1861 and the
town began to grow. It started
with about 20 miners and grew
to an estimated 10,000 people
by 1880! By that time, the town
of Bodie bustled with families,
robbers, miners, store owners,
gunfighters and prostitutes of
all kinds. At one time there was
reported to be 65 saloons in
town. Amongst the saloons
were numerous brothels and
'houses of ill repute', gambling
halls and opium dens. Needless
to say that there was
entertainment for every taste.
After a long day working the claims, the
miners would head for the bars and the red
light district to spend their earnings. The
mixture of money, gold and alcohol would
often prove fatal. It is said that there was a
man killed every day in Bodie. Presumably, the
undertaker never had a slow day.
There are records that say
that Wm. Body took a ship
from New York, around the
horn to end up in San
Francisco. The name of the
town was changed at some
point in time, before the
majority of the people made
their way to Bodie. There are
different stories as to why -
one says it was to keep the
correct pronunciation of
town's namesake. Another
says that the sign painter
didn't have the room for the
tail of the lower-case "y".
Today, even though Bodie is
lost down a dusty 13 mile long
road, off of state highway
395, it is amazing just how
many people are aware of
this once glorious town.
There's a story about a little girl whose family
moved from San Francisco to Bodie. Depending
on who tells you, or where you read it, she
wrote either: "Good, by God, I'm going to
Bodie" or "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie".
Once you get through this site, you'll have to
decide for yourself.
All of the photos and art work on this site are the property of Janice Hatfield and are
not to be copied, Thanx!