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Overview

What is this Project? This project aims to show the evolution of Bodie, California over the years 1850-1940. In 1859, four prospectors discovered gold in a valley north of Mono Lake in California. One of the prospectors, W.S. Bodey, was killed by a blizzard and his death gave the work site its name. A painter lettered a sign "Bodie Stables" and residents of the area thought it looked better than other phonetic variations of Bodey, so Bodie stuck as the name. The town languished until 1875, when a mine called Bunker Hill caved and exposed an ore body that attracted speculators. These speculators included The Standard Company, who set up an industrial-scale mining operation. From 1877-1881, Bodie boomed, attracting a population of around 10,000. In addition to more standard saloons and churches, Bodie boasted a brass band, two banks, a Chinatown, and a red-light district. Eventually, Bodie's high-quality ore ran low and mining companies began to pull out. The Standard Company gave up in 1913 and Bodie never boomed again. Small prospectors came to Bodie occasionally through the 1920s and 1930s, with little success. By the time fire ripped through Bodie's streets in 1932, the town was largely abandoned. In 1962, Bodie's surviving structures were taken over by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Bodie has since become one of the best preserved ghost towns in the West.