Bodie, CA: The Remains Of One Of California’s Most Booming Gold Rush Towns

Located 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe, California lies the ghost town of Bodie. In the beginning, Bodie was nothing more than a small mining camp made up of prospectors looking to get rich. However, after they struck gold, Bodie turned into one of the biggest and most successful boomtowns of the gold rush era. Full of gold, gunslingers, barfights, and prostitution, Bodie was the essence of the Wild West. Yet, over the years, it became smaller and smaller until nothing but the structures remained. Learn about the history of Bodie and how the town went from one of the most successful to completely forsaken by the people that once called it home.

What happened in 1876 changed everything for the small town of Bodie.

Discovery Of Gold In Bodie


Photo Credits: Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Bodie began as a small mining camp after the discovery of gold by a man named W.S. Bodey along with other prospectors. Unfortunately, Bodey died in a blizzard the following November while on a supply run to the present-day Mono City, California. According to pioneer Judge J. G. McClinton, the camp was changed from “Body” to “Bodey” and finally “Bodie.”

Unfortunately, W.S. Bodey never lived long enough to see the establishment named after him. By 1968, while nearby towns of Aurora and Virginia City were exploding in wealth and population, Bodie remained unsuccessful.