Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Bodie State Historic Park is located in the Sierra Nevada in the northern part of California. The word “sierra” comes from the Spanish word, “serra,” which means “saw.” Sierra means a long and jagged (like a saw blade!) mountain range. “Nevada” means “snowy” in Spanish.
Bodie State Historic Park is one of the most exciting and interesting places you’ll ever visit, so don’t let the word “historic” make you think it’s boring. What makes Bodie so exciting? It’s a real-life ghost town! That’s right—Bodie State Historic Park is an actual town without any people.
The town was started back in 1859 when William S. Bodey (yes, it’s spelled differently. Good observation!) arrived in the area to search for gold. He and his mining partner, whose name was Black Taylor, liked the area, and decided it was where they should stay. So, they built a place to live, started building a mill, and mined (panned) for gold.
Coming to California to mine for gold was the dream for thousands of people during this time in history, but most didn’t find much gold —or any at all. William Bodey and Black Taylor were lucky. They found what they were looking for. When news got out about their success, everyone wanted to live in Bodey (the town’s name was spelled this way at first).
Once the popularity of mining was over, Bodie became just another small town. In 1932, a big fire burned several of the buildings (see image above). Some people left after that to start over somewhere else. The town eventually became completely empty. In 1961, the state of California and the National Parks Service took over the town, and declared the area to be Bodie State Historic Park.
Today, the town of Bodie is being preserved in “arrested decay.” This means the buildings in Bodie are completely original. They are exactly the same as they were the day someone last lived or worked there. The parks staff are only giving them the care they need to not rot and completely fall apart. This is important so that we can see and understand how people lived nearly 200 years ago.
Don’t forget Bodie Historic State Park opens Memorial Day! Can't wait that long? Check out Google's Parks and Trails Treks. It's a great way to see the park before it opens.
See you on the trail!