Bodie, a thriving gold town close to the Nevada border, is currently one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the United States. After gold was found there in 1859 by prospector William Bodey, the region quickly developed a mill, stores, and a steady stream of aspiring miners. The town’s population had increased to 10,000 people by the 1880s. Bodie had its fair number of saloons (65 were listed in 1877), casinos, and brothels where the miners might spend their money, yet some families did move there. As a result, one local pastor came to refer to the community as “a sea of sin.”
Unfortunately for the miners, there was only so much gold to be found, and by the 1890s, the town was beginning to dwindle. It was not a sea of gold. Most of what remained was destroyed by many fires. In 1962, the remnants of the once bustling Bodie were turned into a state park. The 200 still-standing structures have benefited from the dry desert air, which has halted further deterioration. Although the park is accessible only by snow vehicles in the winter due to its mountainous elevation, it is available to tourists all year round. If you decide to come, take note that leaving things exactly as you find them is encouraged because it is said that taking any souvenirs from Bodie will bring about a curse.