Arrested Decay Bodie SHP Eastern Sierra Nevadas Sept. 2010
By its peak in 1879, Bodie had roughly 12,000 inhabitants placing the town as the 3rd largest in the state. With approximately 67 saloons, dozens of brothels, opium dens every few doors in a seedy Chinatown, and gun fights in back alleys, Bodie had the reputation of being one of the most furious, vehement, violent, and lawless towns in all the Mother Lode. Many of the locals believed the only worthwhile way to settle an argument was with a bullet to the back of the head.
Bodie's reputation for lawlessness and a general lack of civility was notorious the world over. Renowned for its shockingly high mortality rate, those who had the misfortune of traveling there were often heard whispering "Good bye God, I'm going to Bodie..."
After a devastating earth quake destroyed most of the primary gold veins the town slowly began to whittle away. A fire tore through much of the town in 1892 forcing many of the remaining inhabitants to leave for good. Due to the remoteness of the town, the difficult route to get out of town, and the high probability of being waylaid by highway men and bandits most residents only took their most prize possessions with them when they left. They simply packed up a few bags, maybe an old crate or two and left the rest of their lives behind locked doors to be swallowed up by time.
Tables were left with full place settings, book cases full of the latest dime store pulp. Cupboards were left full of canned goods and other dry stuffs. Sheds were left full of rusting tools and cobwebs. Automobiles that couldn't be driven out where left to rot in the fields. The town itself was left in a state of arrested decay.