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Bodie Ghost Town

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Bodie Ghost Town

….A Town in Mono County Where Men Were Eaten for Breakfast!

No doubt about it, Mono County is a beautiful place to live – a jewel in nature’s crown. But it hasn’t always been that way – at least not for all the towns that have existed in the county’s history. Some of them have been pretty rough, not beautiful at all. Bodie was one of those.

The town of Bodie was born in 1859 with the discovery of gold by William “Waterman” S. Bodey. Two years later, a mill was established and the settlement began to grow. By 1880, it was home to over 10,000 people and had produced more than $35 million in gold and silver. At one point, it boasted 65 saloons along with several other questionable establishments like brothels, gambling halls, and opium dens. The miners’ wages mixed with those entertainment choices about as well as vinegar mixes with baking soda; and a common greeting around the town is said to have been, “Have a man for breakfast?” – a colorful question which meant ‘Did anyone get killed last night?’

The town began to decline in 1880 when mining booms developed in Montana and in the neighboring states of Arizona and Utah. Bodie’s last newspaper was printed in 1912; and in 1920, the town only had 120 residents. The post office closed in 1942; and the following year, only 3 people called the town home. Twenty years later, what remained of the town was designated a National Historic Landmark, and it became Bodie State Historic Park.

Today around 100 buildings remain where the boomtown once stood. They’re preserved in a state of “arrested decay”, meaning none have been restored. They all remain in the state that abandonment and time have left them in. The park is open all year round; but because it sits at a high elevation, it’s accessible only by skis, snowshoes, and snowmobiles in the winter months. Nevertheless, it is one of Mono County’s most fascinating and educational day trips and is well worth the visit – or is it? A story has circulated for years about a little girl who wrote a letter a long time ago. Her family was moving to Bodie. Some say she wrote in the letter, “Good, by God, I’m going to Bodie.” Others say she wrote, “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.” Which one is more likely? We’ll let you visit and be the judge.

If you need more information about Mono County, please contact me by calling (855) GO-MAGGIE. Knowing the county and the surrounding area is my job.


 

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