As a bustling gold mining center, from 1859 to the begining of the 1900’s, Bodie had the amenities of larger towns, including two banks, four volunteer fire companies, a brass band, a railroad, miners’ and mechanics’ unions, several daily newspapers, and a jail. At its peak, 65 saloons lined Main Street, which was a mile long. Murders, shootouts, barroom brawls, and stagecoach holdups were regular occurrences.
The first time I took my family to visit Bodie was on a ski vacation at the nearby Mammoth Mountain. The photo attached to this blog is one of the many open houses that were left exactly like they were, in a state of arrested decay, after the town was deserted.
After looking at all the iron beds that had been left behind, my daughter asked me “Daddy did you sell these people all these beds……?” She was quite young at the time and I explained that the beds she was seeing were the original metal beds that the people that lived in this town used when they lived here. She couldn’t understand why anyone in their right mind would leave a perfectly good bed behind if they moved. My daughter even at an early age was aware of their value and what beds now cost. I explained to her that back when Bodie was a bustling prosperous town, metal beds only cost around a dollar or less. That was even more difficult for her to assimilate…… beds that now cost hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars were the same ones that only cost around a dollar at one time.
That same daughter is now the proud owner of one of the best “commission” beds I’ve ever seen. She is well aware of it’s value and I don’t ever anticipate her leaving her bed when she moves, like the people of Bodie did when they moved on.