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  • Writer's pictureNicole Olsen

The Ghost Town of Bodie

My love for photography began at my Grandmother’s farm, the Lazy BN Ranch in Taylor Arizona. My sisters and I would stay there for the summer running around chasing horses, catching crawdads, and swimming in the cow’s water troughs. I remember the first time I brought a camera for the summer; all around me I saw beauty, and I was eager to capture it. It was those first images of weather worn barns, tractor equipment in an overgrown field, the wishing well covered in morning glories that got me hooked.

So I was particularly excited to go to the abandoned stamping mill and gold mining camp found in the Sierra mountains to view from behind my lens the old equipment rusting in the sun with the fields and mountains all around. The kids were eager to go as well because they were hunting for ghosts in this 150-year-old ghost town, surely one or two must still be haunting the unusually well-preserved town of Bodie.

Bodie was established in 1877. It was a booming town with a population of over 10,000. Today only a small portion of the Bodie still remains, and it is kept in a state of arrested decay. Much that remains of Bodie looks the way it did when families abandoned it in the 1920’s. Once the war began all non-essential mining was shut down, and without the factories running there was no longer a reason to stay in Bodie.

Now is the part of this post where I could ramble on in excruciating detail about how gold is extracted from ore, of how the town of Bodie became so successful, plus so many other historical events of the town (I paid for the in-depth tour because I am a nerd like that), but I will spare you all the facts and just let you see Bodie for yourself.

As a further note, no ghosts were found in Bodie, even the mortuary and cemetery sprung up empty, although Holden is convinced a friendly ghost might have stowed away in the RV.

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