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Bodie's Gold-new format

Tall Tales and True History from a California Mining Town

Marguerite Sprague

Publication Year: 2011

Published by: University of Nevada Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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LIst of Illustrations

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pp. viii-x

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pp. xi-xvi

Tales of my wild Uncle Marion, many told by Marion himself, enlivened my relatively ordinary childhood. A visit to his Sierra home was like a visit to a fabulous adventure book: full of scary fun, but with a guaranteed happy ending. I still recall him rousting me out of my warm sleep at 4 a.m. to plop me into his old Army surplus jeep—no airbags, no seatbelts,...

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Chapter 1. Welcome to Bodie

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pp. 1-9

“Welcome to Bodie!” is the first thing you hear when you arrive, if, like most visitors, you arrive during the warm season when the entrance is staffed. From the park gates, Bodie sprawls across the shallow desert bowl, surprisingly quiet after all these years. This is the baddest town from the bawdy Wild West? This is the dangerous hamlet that spawned tales of the Bad Man from Bodie? Ah yes, it is....

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Chapter 2. The Gold in Them Thar’ Hills

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pp. 10-30

Mining activity began relatively slowly in Bodie. The Bodie Mining District1 was formed in the fall of 1860. The first claims and owners were duly recorded. W. S. Bodie’s original claim was the center point of the Bodie Mining District, and the district spread out five miles in each direction from it...

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Chapter 3. The Lousy Miners

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pp. 31-47

Mining was, and often still is, a brutal way to make a living. Mining in Bodie was as rugged as it gets. Accidents happened, some particularly grotesque. Yet hundreds of men thought nothing of leaving a more stable and traditional lifestyle to pursue their fortune this way...

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Chapter 4. The Golden Time

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pp. 48-68

The golden time of Bodie was not terribly long-lived: 1879 through 1880. At that time, Bodie, California, was the current golden town of the Golden State. The gold business was flourishing, the gold miners were gleefully toiling, the merchants were gleefully taking the hard-earned gold pieces, and there was no end in sight to the good times...

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Chapter 5. Bodie’s Social Ladder

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pp. 69-98

The social structure in Bodie, like that in most of mainstream America, placed white people on the top rung and parceled out the others below. And within each group of people, men and women were viewed and treated differently....

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Chapter 6. The Bodie Fever Breaks: 1881

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pp. 99-118

Hopes for continued growth and riches in Bodie were running high as 1881 began. Then the San Francisco Stock and Exchange Board suddenly went limp, and Bodie stocks with it. Some fair-weather citizens moved on, once the roads were passable. Although it was the entire stock market that stumbled, Bodie, like other mining camps...

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Chapter 7. Up Home

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pp. 119-167

The twentieth century brought significant change to Bodie as everywhere else. No longer a thriving boomtown of thousands with more arriving each day, Bodie settled into being a small town with a few steadily working mines. The essence of Bodie, however—the rugged climate, the hardworking and hard-drinking men who mined there...

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Chapter 8. Bodie State Historic Park

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pp. 168 -176

In 1958, the State of California, at the behest of the Cain family, took a long, hard look at Bodie’s potential as a State Historic Park (SHP). The state officials reviewed records, inventoried what was left in the town, and considered several possibilities. Finally, when they decided to indeed move forward, it was with a new and novel approach: arrested decay...

Appendix 1: Once Upon an Ancient Time . . .

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pp. 177-180

Appendix 2: De Re Metallica Redux

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pp. 181-186

Appendix 3: The First Bodieites: The Kuzedika

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pp. 187-195

Appendix 4: When a Bodie Meets a Bodie

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pp. 196-198


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pp. 199-204


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pp. 205-214


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pp. 215-228

E-ISBN-13: 9780874178685
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874178562

Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 79 b/w photos, 1 map
Publication Year: 2011