Golden Gate Photo - Bodie Gallery
Fine Art Photography from Bodie State Historic Park in East-Central California.


"Good-bye, God, Iím going to Bodie" - Diary entry of a little girl whose family was leaving for the infamous town.

As the Gold Rush of the 1849 era along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada began to fade, more prospecting occurred to the east. This led to the discovery of the richest known U.S. silver deposit, the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, Nevada in 1857 or 1859 (from different accounts). This also led to a rush in the surrounding high desert areas, including Bodie. Bodie was named after Waterman S. Body (AKA Bodey) who discovered gold in the area in 1859. The name change to Bodie was a deliberate move by its citizens to assure proper pronunciation. By 1879, the population of Bodie was around 10,000! It was also a renowned den of vice, with frequent robberies, stage holdups, and gunfights. And of course there were the saloons, the red light district, and boot hill cemetery. The gold mining boom only last about 4 years, and Bodie started a gradual decline, punctuated by fires in 1892 and 1932. It eventually became a ghost town by the 1940s. Bodie was established as a State Historic Park in 1962 and the remaining 5 percent of its buildings are maintained in a state of "arrested decay".

Bodie lies to the east of the Sierra Nevada, in the Basin and Range geomorphic province. Gold and silver mineralization occur in quartz veins in Miocene andesites in the Bodie and Aurora (Nevada) mining districts.

It is probably appropriate here to note that it's places like Bodie, where short-term profits eventually gave way to the reality of an unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, that offer a peek into the future of similar and much larger situations we face today.

Dechambeau Hotel Saloon

Dechambeau Hotel Saloon

During its heyday, Bodie sported a total of 65 saloons (or about one for every 150 people). Surely one reason for the popularity of the watering hole in this old west town, besides a place to relax after a hard day in the mine, was its harsh climate. Bodie was designated the national cold spot (yes, in California) in 1999 by recording the coldest daily temperature in the lower 48 states on 71 days.

Print No. A02-30-6

Reclaimed Car and Mine

Reclaimed Car and Mine

A car is gradually consumed by the Earth. In the background lie some of the buildings associated with the gold mining operation. Between 1860 and 1941, the Bodie Mining District produced nearly $100 million in gold and silver (back when gold was $20 to $35 per ounce and silver was 70 cents to $1 per ounce).

Print No. A02-30-11

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Wheaton & Hollis Hotel Billiards Table

Wheaton & Hollis Hotel Billiards Table

This exquisitely-maintained table was left set for a game of caroms. Simple caroms, also known as Straight Rail, was played with three balls on a pocketless table. In the 1870s, it became the game of choice along with the predecessor of modern pocket billiards.

Print No. A02-30-12

Quinville House

Quinville House

Here is an abstract view of the Frank F. Quinville house. He moved to Bodie in the mid/late 1880s and was the blacksmith for Standard Consolidated Mine and Mill. The Standard was the most successful of the 30 mining companies operating in the Bodie Mining District.

Print No. A02-30-9

Water Bucket and Well

Water Bucket and Well

Water was a premium commodity in Bodie, both for drinking and for the mill processing. One cannot say what the water quality might have been for the town's first settlers. But around a hundred years later, after decades of uncontrolled mining and mine processing, the Bureau of Land Management first identified heavy metal contamination in Bodie Creek in 1985.

Print No. A02-31-1

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