Historical Sites To Visit In California

Information for visitors about the historical sites, the ghost town of Bodie, California past and present day.

When you think of California what do you normally think about? Perhaps your thoughts center around Hollywood and Movie Stars. You may wish to visit Mann's Theater where you can stroll the walks lined with handpints and footprints of famous celebrities. Maybe your mind wanders to thoughts of San Francisco. Your dream may be to take in the sites from the Golden Gate Bridge, or travel through town on a trolley car. Disneyland would probably come first to the minds of children and those who are young at heart. Surfers and beachcombers would most certainly think of California's miles of sandy beaches and majestic waves.

While all of these California attractions are fantastic places to visit, there is another side of California to tour. There is the California of Early American History. This territory was once a new frontier for the first settlers to explore, in the "Gold Rush" era. A time when stories of riches made, claims staked and claims lost were all too common.

If you are planning a trip to California there is a timeless town from the past that you won't want to miss. Each year tourist in search of the roots of California, travel to the town of Bodie, California. Bodie is located north of Yosemite National Park

Since 1962 the remains of this once flourishing town, has been preserved within the confines of Bodie State Historic Park. In this California "Ghost Town," is a collection of over 100 ramshackled wooden buildings. Homes and buildings worn from time, devastated by fires and weather-beaten by harsh winters. Sadly only five percent of the buildings in the town now remain. These buildings include a jail, a morgue, a sawmill, a schoolhouse and several homes and businesses. The town appears much as it did over 100 years ago when the last of its occupants evacuated.

Bodie is one of the largest ghost towns still remaining. It is a place where time stands still and tourists can imagine life in the Old West.

It is hard to conceive that this empty site once had a population of 10,000 residents. People were driven to California by their desire for prosperity. It was called "Gold Fever" and people from all across America abandoned their homes to come to California and stake their claim. They came to this once average town called Bodie in particular, because it was considered a hot spot for gold. The town was named after, prospector Waterman S. Bodey. Brodey discovered gold in the town in 1859. The spelling of his name was changed for easier pronunciation.

Once Bodey's discovery was common knowledge, gold prospectors seized the small town. The population skyrocketed from 500 inhabitants to approximately 10,000 almost overnight.

At the height of prosperity, thirty mines were operating in Brodie. Over 100 million dollars in gold were mined before the ore ran out. Legend has it that the largest find worth 500,000 dollars left Bodie by stagecoach, guarded by more than a half dozen men. In 1892, Bodie made history by being the first town to receive electricity by way of a long distance electric powerline. The line brought power to the mills from a hydroelectric plant some 13 miles away at Green Creek.

Of course, fame and fortune are usually accompanied by infamous stories as well. Bodie was no exception. This town became a place where legends were made. A town where tales of rags to riches were common and where stories of shootouts and saloon fights were daily occurrences. The town was soon known by another name as well. "Sin City." This was due to the fact that the area housed several breweries, 65 saloons, numerous opium dens and a prosperous red light district.

The expression "Badman from Bodie" began due to the violent nature of the town. It was the norm for the town's jails to be filled to overflowing. The Reverend F.W. Warrington condemned the town by referring it as "a sea of sin, lashed by tempests of lust and passion."

As you tour the vacant streets and view the empty buildings it is awesome imagining the hustle and bustle of this historic boomtown before it went bust. This reality hits home, as you stand in front of one large dilapidated home once owned by James Stuart Cain. Cain was the main property owner in Bodie. He was also the owner of the now demised, Standard Mine and Mill.

Only one building in Bodie is open to the public. The Miner's Union Hall contains a fantastic collection of memorabilia for visitors to examine and lead them back to the early days of historic California.

Nature lovers will also want to visit nearby Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park. All of which are located south of Bodie.

From the first settlers to present day, California is, and will always be the place to go for those seeking fame and fortune.

© High Speed Ventures 2011