The town of Bodie, California is right out of one of my favorite sections of U.S. History – the gold rush – and was added to my bucket list for one very unique reason. It’s a ghost town! Built in the 1860’s and named after William Bodey (Waterman S. Body), who was the first to discover gold in the (Bodie) hills nearby, the town grew steadily until the early 1880’s when the gold mines began to close and people moved on to more prosperous areas of the country. Although there was a brief resurgence of inhabitants throughout most of the early 1900’s thanks to new mining technology, the town slowly faded towards the ghost town it would become in the 1940’s after a fire destroyed 90% of the town in 1933.
In 1962, Bodie was declared both a State Historic Park and National Historic Landmark thanks to the state of “arrested decay” that has been maintained since the state took over. Everything has been left in place and provides a glimpse into the past and into the lives of the last residents of a town frozen in time. The park is open year round and will cost $5 per adult and $3 per child to enter. Since there is almost no electricity in the area, try to plan your trip around one of the 3 nights each year the park stays open late to experience a rare look at the stars over the town time forgot, or to go on one of the ghost tours with a guide.