Review Topic: Overview
(This is a follow-up on my earlier review of http://www.epinions.com/trvl-review-1FB-D4A63C3-39286B7B-prod5 Bodie....that review explains how to get there, and how the Park came to be. This is some ramblings after finding the tour brochure I got the last time I visited.)
From the brochure they used to hand out at Bodie:
"And now my comrades all are gone;
Naught remains to toast.
They have left me here in my misery,
Like some poor wandering ghost."
Bodie was at it's best in 1880. Today, only about 5 percent of the original buildings remain. That's hard to believe as you walk around the town today, and then begin to realize all that you are missing.
Waterman S. Body discovered gold in the area in 1859, and the town bears his name, albeit misspelled. The town boasted 10,000 souls by 1879, and most of them were rowdy folk. One little girl, whose parents were making the move to Bodie, wrote in her journal: "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie." Bodie became known by that phrase around the west, and was pretty proud of it, too.
Now, when you make the long drive to Bodie, as you cross the divide and see the town spread out before you, try to imagine how the town looked when it was young. As you admire the Methodist Church, and the Cain house, with it's glassed in porch, think of the streets teaming with horses and mules and wagons, and dust churning up from the wheels. Think of the Chinese relegated to their corner of Bodie, and the "red light" district that thrived at the edge of town.
I love history, and I love to visit Bodie, to imagine what once was, and see what it now. That so much is left is amazing to me. That so much has been lost is equally amazing. So, the next time you're driving that lonely stretch of Highway 395 along the Northern Sierra, and you have the urge to turn off at the sign marked "Bodie," follow that urge. You'll take a trip back in time, and perhaps come away with a finer understanding of life before the turn of the 20th century.
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