Jason Daniel Shaw
Best Ghost Town in California
Ghost Town – Bodie, CA
Bodie is the best ghost town in California. It is not rebuilt into what it was when it was booming and it isn’t just foundations of buildings with a commemorative sign. Bodie is a look at a real-life ghost town stuck in a state of “arrested decay” – meaning that the California State Park system doesn’t allow it to deteriorate any more than when they took it over in 1962 but also doesn’t restore it beyond the same state.
The History of Bodie, Ca
Bodie was a booming mine town from the mid 1870s to the early 1880s. The Bunker Hill Mine set off a frenzy that lasted until the mines had become depleted in 1881 and the associated mining companies went bankrupt. This wasn’t before 8,500 people moved to town, mined $15M in ore and built 2,000 buildings. By 1886, population was down to 1,500 people but two fires later had destroyed all but 10% of the town. What was left quickly turned into a ghost town and in 1962, the State of California took it over and turned it into a state park.
I have visited Bodie twice now and it both times has been amazing. I love walking around the old buildings that still have all of the old furnishings still in them. They have tours around the town with the rangers and even host photography classes. I have struggled to take photos on both trips (see the other photos here) but not for lack of trying. I think that both times I have been, the light hasn’t been the best. It might be better to try early morning since the park closes well before sunset. There are a few dates in which the park will stay open late and even offer ghost tours. I might have to try one of those times or even sign up for one of the photography classes.