Saturday, August 27, 2011

BODIE - an intimate view

Bodie! The name of the town brings images of lawlessness, the stories of the infamous "Badman from Bodie." The Badman stories seem to be based on a composite of men like Tom Adams, Washoe Pete, and several others. Bad men, bad whiskey and bad climate were endemic to Bodie. But the streets are quiet now, with the possible exception of an occasional ghostly visitor. We didn't see any of that in our visit.

What we saw was the town, home to as many as 10,000. People who had a life that didn't include such niceties as trees and birds and rivers and lakes. People who didn't really mind too much when the baddies among them killed each other off over perceived wrongs in gambling, boozing and womanizing, as long as they didn't bother the good citizens.
Before going to the story, we got a question from Marsha of Where's Weaver. Marsha wondered why the town was named Bodie when the town's namesake spelled his name Bodey. According to the official $2.00 reference book: "The change in spelling ... has often been attributed to an illiterate sign painter, but it was a deliberate change by the citizenry to ensure proper pronunciation." So there, you illiterate sign painter!

Suzy on Big Red and I on my two feet and a stick had differences as we toured. Angles of pictures differed, and points of reference were different. I did a lot of looking into buildings through cloudy windows and wire fences. Suzy stayed back a little and focused on building exteriors, often just pointing the camera in a direction and shooting a great picture! Herewith are some of our memories of that day:

The museum (former Miners Union Hall):

Old time hearse, Suzy'e eye level

What I saw inside
Also in the firehouse.
Boone's Store (owned then by a direct descendant of good old Daniel Boone):

Suzy's proud of this one! And she should be -- I never even saw it!

1927 Dodge Graham. By then, the town was on shaky ground, and a fire destroyed most of it in 1932.
Through the window

Through another window
Barber Shop and Gambling Hall:
Gambling Hall on left, Barbershop on right: two clip joints side by side!

The Hoover House - owned by the brother of President Herbert Hoover, who later became director of the School of Mines at Stanford University:
We weren't allowed to get close to this one: sign says dangerous grounds
Detail of picket fence and porch
Mr. Hoover had a nice gate
There are so many other scenes to show you, so we'll try one more post about Bodie, then refer you to our web album, once we get it better organized. Just not enough time in ... Our Life on Wheels!


  1. Great pictures of Bodie. I felt like I was right there!

  2. Loved the perspective of 2 different views!..and loved the tour..and especially loved Suzy in her cowboy hat..I need to git me one of them thar hats!!

  3. I really enjoyed your photos...and tell Suzie the reflection in the glass is a great photo. I really wonder what life was like back them for the inhabitants of that town.

  4. Wonderful pictures. Thanks for the explanation of the name. I love that kind of trivia.

  5. Great tour and pictures. Bad whiskey has accounted for a lot of problems over the years ( or so I have heard:) )

  6. Love the pictures you took. You are a great photographer, for sure.

  7. Ralph would have loved it there... GREAT photos! Can't wait to see the rest!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  8. What a hard life it must have been back in those days.

  9. Like all the others have said - great pictures of Bodie.

    Thanks for the terrific tour of times past!

  10. Hi:
    I meant to put a link to the museum on the post (I have added it now) where they have a lot of details.

    I have to change my blog template to make the labels for pictures. I have been meaning to do that, but basically have been too lazy:(

    Here is the link:

  11. Thanks for the outstanding tour, very pleasurable to read! I really like Suzy’s photo of the reflection in the window. The other photo that made me chuckle was the one with Suzy on her electric Big Red seemingly driving by the old gas pumps. This made me think of some commercials I have seen over the years of “gas sippers” driving by the last gas station for a hundred miles.


  12. Great reflection shot. I always peek in through the windows when we're visiting outdoor museums ... you get nice glimpses into the past even if the windows aren't always clean.


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