If you’re fascinated by stories of disappearing colonies or abandoned villages, you should visit the Bodie ghost town in Bodie State Historic Park in California.
The state park is considered California’s best-preserved ghost town, thanks to the work of the Bodie Foundation, which is dedicated to raising funding to stabilize the town’s structures and preserve artifacts.
If you walk around the Bodie ghost town, it almost looks like you’re on the set of an old Western film. The buildings are so amazingly preserved they don’t look as though they’re over 100 years old, but they are.
The town was named after William Bodey, who had discovered small amounts of gold north of the nearby Mono Lake. He and his men decided to build a cabin in the area and began mining.
Only a few residents lived in Bodie in 1876, but by 1879, the population soared up to 10,000 people as the mining industry expanded.
By 1881, the main road in the town of Bodie stretched a mile long. There were two churches, a telegraph station, a post office, mills, motels, general stores, schools, stables, doctor’s offices, a cemetery, etc. It was quite a hopping town.
However, in 1892, a kitchen fire wiped out many of the town’s buildings. They were eventually restored, but a large number of residents never returned.
Another tragic fire occurred in 1932, and most of the town burnt to the ground, making it a ghost town.
However, in 1961 the town received National Landmark Status, and the remaining buildings became a central part of what is now known as Bodie State Park. One of the buildings still standing is the beautiful Methodist church, a highlight for many visitors.
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