Best known for its 20-below winters, scorching summers and trigger-happy “bad men,” Bodie was once one of the most active mining camps in the West. The town flourished between 1878 and 1882 with over 30 operating mines, its own narrow-gauge railroad and a population of about 10,000. Among the inhabitants, Bodie’s infamous gunmen stood out, their fights and robberies good material for local newspapers. Despite its reputation as “the wildest camp in the West,” Bodie was the most productive gold district in the Basin Ranges. The town faded after 1882, its decline hastened by two major fires, but some mining continued until World War II.
This place is awesome!
Back in the mid 50s, we were able to followed a narrow gauge RR line south east from Bodie for many miles. This did not go down to Mono Mills, We were using the tram timbers to build cabins at June Lake, Bill Schauver was a builder and no one cared about the timbers at that time.
Bill was a rancher and was born in the area. Old Basques were quite aware of a RR disaster.
The RR and it’s one time falure is significant because that in Bill’s estimation resulted in the failure of Bodie. The RR was to deliver winter supplies to the town but did not make the run on time. Due to an early snow the RR never made the run and halph the town starved to death There were numerous people who had lived through that winter and told of the hardships.
I have not been able to find any references to the RR that served Bodie. The RR from Mono Mills is documented but incorrectly. They cut cordwood for fuel at Mono Mills. Most of the construction lumber came from Divide which is across hwy 395 somewhat south west of Bodie.
Thank you for the story, Lawrence. That’s an interesting bit of information on Bodie.
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