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Bodie, California's Ghost Town

Bodie, California... image courtesy of the California State Parks Photographic Archives

California lawmakers will soon be voting on AB 1757, introduced by Assemblyman Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City. The bill would add Section 429.7 to the Government Code, relating to state emblems and designate Bodie as California's official Ghost Town. Haunted Bay urges everyone to contact there local legislative representatives and urge them to vote yes on AB1757.

For the text of AB1757 CLICK HERE

For information on Assemblyman Tim Leslie CLICK HERE

For information on Bodie CLICK HERE

Below is an article on the issue from the May 4th issue of SFGate.com.


Lawmaker wants state ghost town
Bodie, former western boomtown, suggested

By Associated Press: Steve Lawrence

SACRAMENTO -- California has an official state motto, nickname, flower, reptile, bird -- even a state fossil and prehistoric artifact. Now a Republican lawmaker wants to give it an official state ghost town.

Assemblyman Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City, has introduced a bill that would give that designation to Bodie, a former western boomtown on the sparsely populated, eastern side of the Sierra Nevada.

"It's a tremendous place," says Leslie. **>"A lot of people already see Bodie, but we believe that if we can get a sign out on the highway that indicates that it's the official ghost town of the state of California even more people will drive that 13 miles of ... road back into history."

Bodie, located off State Highway 395, is one of the best preserved ghost towns in the West. Its more than 170 remaining buildings are kept in "arrested decay" in a state historic park.

The state repairs roofs, foundations, windows and interior framing but tries to do as little as possible to the buildings' exteriors, says Supervising Ranger Brad Sturdivant.

About 200,000 people a year visit the town, including skiers, snowmobilers and four-wheel-drive enthusiasts who try to reach the park when winter snows close the road.

The town was founded after two prospectors, Waterman Body (pronounced Bo-dee') and Black Taylor, discovered gold in the area in 1859. The town was named after Body, but the spelling was changed to Bodie to avoid mispronunciations.

During its heyday in the late 1870s and early 1880s, Bodie had nearly 10,000 residents, more than 60 saloons and dance halls and a reputation as one of the wildest, most violent towns in the West.

According to some newspaper accounts, a little girl proclaimed "Good-bye, God, I'm going to Bodie," when told by her parents that she was moving to the mining camp.

The idea for the official ghost town designation came from 7th and 8th grade students in Lee Vining, a small town about 18 miles south of Bodie.

As a sort of civics lesson, Leslie asked junior and senior high school students in his district to suggest legislation they would like to see introduced.

"We kind of brainstormed and tried to find something that was relevant to our area," said Jeanine Barbato, the junior high teacher in Lee Vining.

The result was Leslie's bill, which will be considered Monday by the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee. Barbato and all 12 of her students plan to attend the hearing.

HAUNTED BAY UPDATE: AB 1757 was signed by Governor Davis on September 5, 2002. 


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