Gold was discovered in 1859 by prospector Wakeman S. Bodey, who the town was named after. Bodey died in November making a supply trip and becoming stranded in a blizzard.
In 1876, the Standard Company discovered a profitable deposit of gold transformed Bodie from an isolated mining camp of few prospectors to a boomtown.
Bodie was famous for its lawlessness. At its peak in 1880, it had 60 saloons. Murders, brawls, and stagecoach holdups were constant occurrences. Legend has it that a little girl, upon finding out that her family was moving there,prayed one night, "Goodbye God, I am going to Bodie."
Gold bullion from the town's nine stamp mills was shipped to Carson City, Nevada accompanied by armed guards. Once the bullion reached Carson City, it was sent by rail to the San Francisco mint.
In 1893 the Standard Company built its own hydroelectric plant, located approximately 13 miles away on Green Creek, above Bridgeport, California. The plant developed a maximum of 130 horsepower and 6,600 volts alternating current to power the company's 20-stamp mill. This pioneering installation was one of the first times an electric motor was operated over long-distance power lines.
Bodie's Chinatown, had several hundred Chinese residents at one point. The Chinese workers earned their incomes mainly from selling vegetables, operating laundries, and cutting, hauling, and selling firewood. Winter temperatures in Bodie would often fall well below zero, and winds reaching nearly 100 miles per hour would sweep across the high open valley. Large amounts of firewood were needed to keep residents warm through the long winters. Many ill-prepared towns folk perished during the extremely harsh winter of 1878-1879.
Today Bodie is an authentic, intact ghost town. Bodie is currently a State Historic Park. Visitors walk the deserted streets of a town that once had a population between 7,000 and 8,000 people. Interiors remain as they were left and in some cases stocked with goods. The remains of Bodie are being preserved in a state of arrested decay...