|Double R Bar Drawing
to raise money in Old Scout's name.
Pair of Ruger Old Army (New Models)
Walker 47 Cap & Ball
Roy Rogers items.
Remember 100% of ticket sales goes to Happy Trails Kids.
Discovery of gold
|Bodie, California From Wikipedia
Bodie is a ghost town in the Bodie Hills east of the Sierra
Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, United States, about
75 miles (120 km) southeast of Lake Tahoe. It is located 12 miles (19 km)
east-southeast of Bridgeport, at an elevation of 8379 feet (2554 m). As
Bodie Historic District, the U.S. Department of the Interior recognizes
it as a National Historic Landmark. The ghost town has been administered
by California State Parks since becoming a state historic park in 1962,
and receives about 200,000 visitors yearly.
Bodie began as a mining camp of little note following
the discovery of gold in 1859 by a group of prospectors, including W.S.
Bodey (first name uncertain). Bodey perished in a blizzard the following
November while making a supply trip to Monoville (near present day Mono
City, CA), never getting to see the rise of the town that was named after
him. According to area pioneer, Judge J.G. McClinton, the district's name
was changed from "Bodey," "Body," and a few other phonetic variations,
to "Bodie," after a painter in the nearby boomtown of Aurora lettered a
sign "Bodie Stables" Gold discovered at Bodie coincided with the discovery
of silver at nearby Aurora, Nevada, and the distant Comstock Lode beneath
Virginia City, Nevada. But while these two towns boomed, interest in Bodie
remained lackluster. By 1868 only two companies had built stamp mills at
Bodie, and both had failed.
Gold bullion from the town's nine stamp mills was shipped
to Carson City, Nevada, by way of Aurora, Wellington and Gardnerville.
Most shipments were accompanied by a guard of armed men. After the bullion
reached Carson City, it was delivered to the mint there, or sent on by
rail to the mint in San Francisco.
In 1876, the Standard Company discovered a profitable
deposit of gold-bearing ore, which transformed Bodie from an isolated mining
camp comprising a few prospectors and company employees to a Wild West
boomtown. Rich discoveries in the adjacent Bodie Mine during 1878 attracted
even more hopeful people. By 1879, Bodie had a population of approximately
5000–7000 people and around 2,000 buildings. One idea maintains that in
1880, Bodie was California's second or third largest city, but the U.S.
Census of that year disproves the popular tale. Over the years, Bodie's
mines produced gold valued at nearly US$34 million.
Bodie boomed from late 1877 through mid- to late 1880.
The first newspaper, The Standard Pioneer Journal of Mono County, published
its first edition on October 10, 1877. It started out as a weekly, but
soon became a tri-weekly paper. It was also during this time that a telegraph
line was built which connected Bodie with Bridgeport and Genoa, Nevada.
California and Nevada newspapers predicted Bodie would become the next
Comstock Lode. Men from both states were lured to Bodie by the prospect
of another bonanza.
Geography of the boomtown
A saloon in Bodie
|As a bustling gold mining center, 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
As with other remote mining towns, Bodie had a popular,
though clandestinely important, red light district on the north end of
town. From this is told the unsubstantiated story of Rosa May, a prostitute
who, in the style of Florence Nightingale, came to the aid of the town
menfolk when a serious epidemic struck the town at the height of its boom.
She is credited with giving life-saving care to many, but was buried outside
the cemetery fence.
Bodie had a Chinatown, the main street of which ran at
a right angle to Bodie's Main Street, with several hundred Chinese residents
at one point, and included a Taoist temple. Opium dens were plentiful in
Bodie also had a cemetery on the outskirts of town and
a nearby mortuary, which is the only building in the town built of red
brick three courses thick, most likely for insulation to keep the air temperature
steady during the cold winters and hot summers. The cemetery was Miners
Union Cemetery, and includes a cenotaph to President James A. Garfield.
On Main Street stands the Miners Union Hall, which was
the meeting place for labor unions and an entertainment center that hosted
dances, concerts, plays, and school recitals. It now serves as a museum.
The first signs of decline appeared in 1880 and became
obvious towards the end of the year. Promising mining booms in Butte, Montana;
Tombstone, Arizona; and Utah lured men away from Bodie. The get-rich quick,
single miners who originally came to the town in the 1870s moved on to
these other booms, which eventually turned Bodie into a family-oriented
community. Two examples
of this settling were the construction of the Methodist
Church (which currently stands) and the Roman Catholic Church (burned about
1930) that were both constructed in 1882. Despite the population decline,
the mines were flourishing, and in 1881 Bodie's ore production was recorded
at a high of $3.1 million. Also in 1881, a narrow gauge railroad was built
called the Bodie Railway & Lumber Company, bringing lumber, cordwood,
and mine timbers to the mining district from Mono Mills south of Mono Lake.
During the early 1890s, Bodie enjoyed a short revival
seen in technological advancements in the mines that continued to support
the town. In 1890, the recently invented cyanide process promised
to recover gold and silver from discarded mill tailings
and from low-grade ore bodies that had been passed over. In 1893, the Standard
Company built its own hydroelectric plant, located approximately 12.5 miles
(20.1 km) away on Green Creek, above Bridgeport, California. The plant
developed a maximum of 130 horsepower (97 kW) and 6,600 volts alternating
current (AC) to power the company's 20-stamp mill. This pioneering installation
is marked as one of the country's first transmissions of electricity over
a long distance.
In 1910, the population was recorded at 698 people, which
were predominantly families that decided
to stay in Bodie instead of moving on to other prosperous
The Methodist Church
Bodie had its own gasoline stop. A Dodge Graham sits
next to the old gas pumps. Note bullet holes on the old "Shell" signs.
The first signs of an official decline occur in 1912 with
the printing of the last Bodie newspaper, The Bodie Miner. In a 1913 book
titled California tourist guide and handbook: authentic description of
routes of travel and points of interest in California, the authors, Wells
and Aubrey Drury described Bodie as a "mining town, which is the center
of a large mineral region" and provided reference to two hotels and a railroad
operating there. In 1913, the Standard Consolidated Mine closed. Mining
profits in 1914 were at a low of $6,821. James S. Cain was buying up everything
from the town lots to the mining claims, and reopened the Standard mill
to former employees, which resulted in an over $100,000 profit in 1915.
However, this financial growth was not in time to stop the town's decline.
In 1917, the Bodie Railway was abandoned and its iron tracks were scrapped.
The last mine closed in 1942, due to War Production Board order L-208,
shutting down all nonessential gold mines in the United States. Mining
The first label of Bodie as a "ghost town" was in 1915.
In a time when auto travel was on a rise, many were adventuring into Bodie
via automobiles. The San Francisco Chronicle published an article in 1919
to dispute the "ghost town" label. By 1920, Bodie's population was recorded
by the US Federal Census at a total of 120 people. Despite the decline,
Bodie had permanent residents through most of the 20th century, even after
a fire ravaged much of the downtown business district in 1932. A post office
operated at Bodie from 1877 to 1942.
Ghost town and park_____________________________________________________________
In the 1940s, the threat of vandalism faced the ghost
town. The Cain family, who owned much of the land the town is situated
upon, hired caretakers to protect and to maintain the town's structures.
Reverse view of a false-fronted wooden
commercial building in Bodie.
|Bodie is now an authentic Wild West ghost town. The town
was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961, and in 1962 it became
Bodie State Historic Park. A total of 170 buildings remained.
Today, Bodie is preserved in a state of arrested decay.
Only a small part of the town survives. Visitors can walk the deserted
streets of a town that once was a bustling area of activity. Interiors
remain as they were left and stocked with goods. Bodie is open all year,
but the long road that leads to the town is usually closed in the winter
due to heavy snowfall, so the majority of visitors to the park come during
the summer months.
The California State Parks' ranger station is located
in one of the original homes on Green Street.
In 2009, Bodie was scheduled to be closed, but the California
state legislature was able to work out a budget compromise that enabled
the state's Parks Closure Commission to allow it to remain open, at least
during the 2009–2010 fiscal year. The park is still operating as of late
The National Weather Service records show that average January
temperatures in Bodie are a maximum of 39.0°F and a minimum of 5.6°F.
Average July temperatures are a maximum of 76.8°F and a minimum of
35.1°F. There are an average of 0.1 days with highs of 90°F (32°C)
or higher and an average of 303.0 days with lows of 32°F (0°C)
or lower. The record high temperature of 91°F was on July 21, 1988.
The record low temperature of -36°F was recorded on February 13, 1903.
Summers in Bodie are hot, but in winter, temperatures
often plummet well below 0 °F (?18 °C), and winds can sweep across
the valley at close to 100 miles per hour (160 km/h). Nights remain cold
even through the summer, often dropping well below freezing. The harsh
weather is due to a particular combination of high altitude (8,400 feet
(2,600 m)) and a very exposed plateau, with little in the way of a natural
surrounding wall to protect the long, flat piece of land from the elements.
Plenty of firewood was needed to keep residents warm through the long winters.
Bodie is not located in a forest, so lumber had to be imported from Bridgeport,
California, Benton, California, Carson City, Nevada, and Mono Mills, California.
The winter of 1878–1879 was particularly harsh and claimed the lives of
Taken on a stormy day at the Bodie Historic
State Park, Bodie, California.
Average annual precipitation is 12.80 inches. There are
an average of 55 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was
1965 with 26.04 inches and the dryest year was 2000 with 4.57 inches. The
most precipitation in one month was 7.39 inches in January 1901. The most
precipitation in 24 hours was 4.57 inches on February 12, 1895. Average
annual snowfall is 97.4 inches. The snowiest year was 1965 with 269.0 inches.
The most snow in one month was 97.1 inches in January 1969.
|"Long Guns of the West" Part 5: The Winchester Model
1886 by Tom "Forty Rod" Taylor
The time of the Toggle-link Winchester was drawing to
a close. The competition for larger caliber, more powerful repeating
rifles and Winchester proved that banking on “the first successful repeater
was not enough to sell the big ’76.
Enter John Moses Browning and his single shot rifle (The
’85). The people at Winchester recognized genius and bought
the SS and a repeating lever action that Browning was working on.
They also bought “first rights” to every invention the Browning could come
up with, a very smart way to get the “bestest firstest” and lock out the
competition all in one stroke. (Almost 75% of Browning’s designs
were never produced.)
The ’86 was another big rifle, although fully two inches
shorter in the receiver than the ’76 but still long enough…due to a new
interior design…and strong enough to handle some potent calibers.
These ran to a baker’s dozen with the lightest being .33 WCH and the .50-110
Express the most powerful. Some saw great popularity while others
had only modest success. .45-70 Government was a popular choice,
as was .45-90. Some other calibers, though certainly not all that
were available, were .38-56, .38-70, .40-65, and .40-70.
The appearance of this new rifle was different:
there was no dust cover, lever lock, side plates, or external safety device.
Internally there were all new workings. A pivoted ramp caught the
cartridge from the magazine, and lifted the nose so that the bolt could
push the round up and forward into the chamber. This, and the lack
of toggles big and stout enough for the bigger ammunition, allowed the
length reduction. The locking of the bolt was accomplished by matched
steel bars, one on either side of the bolt at the rear, that raised vertically
in channels in both the frame and the bolt as the lever was lifted.
The ’86 came in the now-familiar choices of rifle, carbine,
and musket, and with familiar options like barrel lengths, round or octagonal
barrels, and stock shapes. New options appeared. Take-down
models, half-magazines, part round and part octagonal barrels, and Light
Weight and Extra Light Weight models.
Teddy Roosevelt, always a fan of Winchester’s guns, quickly
adopted the ’86 in place of his ’76 and headed for Africa. Though
not on a par with single and double “African” guns, the ’86 none-the-less
had a decent following “on the Continent”.
The guns are being reproduced and replicated today in
several calibers and degrees of finish by Miroku / Winchester, and Browning
made .45-70 copies for some time.
I bought a Browning 1886 Standard grade rifle in about
1990. I sold it when I lost my job a couple of years later and replaced
it in November of 2007 after placing an ad in the Classifieds. Mudflat
Mike sold me a standard 24”, .45-70 serial number 04884 Px xxx for $1300.00.
I couldn’t ask for a better deal or better man to deal with.
|All articles submitted to the "Brimstone
Gazette" are the property of the author, used with their expressed permission.
The Brimstone Pistoleros are not
responsible for any accidents which may occur from use of loading
data, firearms information, or recommendations published on the Brimstone
Pistoleros web site.