Petticoats and Pistols welcomes inspirational author TANYA STOWE to Wildflower Junction today! She’ll be giving away a PDF copy of her latest, Tender Trust, so don’t forget to tell her howdy and leave a comment!
“Goodbye God, we’re moving to Bodie.” This little girl’s comment, published in newspapers across the country, exemplified Bodie’s lawless status. The booming California gold town was thought to be so remote, so full of gold, vice and danger this fearful little girl thought even God would not dare to go there.
Kansas City, Tombstone, Deadwood are all familiar boomtowns of the Wild West. Their names strike stirring images of men with guns, untold wealth and lawlessness. But how many can recall or have ever heard the name of Bodie?
Discovered in 1859 by a group of prospectors led by William S. Bodey, this town in the Eastern Nevadas was located 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe and lay on the route to Virginia City, Nevada and the Comstock Lode. The area’s remote location and rugged weather discouraged early development until 1875 when the Standard Mine found substantial deposits. From 1875 through the late 1880’s, Bodie boasted a population of seven thousand people with nine stamp mills, two thousand buildings, a Wells Fargo bank, worker’s unions, four volunteer fire departments and four brass bands. Bodie even counted its saloons. Sixty-five lined Bonanza Street, not to mention Chinatown with its several hundred residents, a Taoist temple and, of course, opium dens.
Owners thought their Bodie find was rich enough to rival the Comstock. In 1881, the ore production in Bodie was recorded at 3.1 million dollars. A narrow gauge railway was built to the remote mining regions located high in the surrounding mountains. In 1892, The Standard Mine built one of the first hydroelectric power plants at a pond thirteen miles outside of Bodie to carry 3,530 volts of alternating current to its stamp mill. This marked one of the first efforts in the nation to carry electricity through wires over a long distance.
Most of these engineering feats were invented to help draw the rich ores from the unforgiving Eastern Sierra Nevadas. But their efforts were costly and minors moved on to new, easier discoveries. A series of fires destroyed many buildings. The price of gold dropped and in the 1930’s, the remaining residents just walked away…leaving behind homes, rusting cars, giant wooden wheels, a single church spire and of course, the giant Standard Stamp mill sitting on the hill overlooking the decaying remnants of this once bustling city.
The roads grew over and the town was forgotten. Bodie’s remote location preserved these remnants in a ghostly memorial. Today Bodie is a state park, protected and preserved for generations. But with all of these remarkable accomplishments and the typical, gun slinging desperados walking the streets, why was Bodie lost? Why doesn’t the name of Bodie strike stirring images like so many other boomtowns?
Perhaps the answer lies in Bodie’s unique location. The Eastern Sierra Nevadas are one of the most fascinating, diverse areas of the country. A few miles north is the highest peak in the continental States. As the crow lies a few miles away is Death Valley, the lowest point. The area abounds with rich natural resources, gold and silver, Mono Lake with its salt water and tufa, extinct volcanoes and fresh water for a thirsty Southern California.
Still, nature jealously guards its treasures. A few years ago a woman dropped her children off for a day of skiing at nearby Mammoth then drove up to visit the ghost town. An infamous Bodie Zephyr blew in a winter storm and trapped her car on the dirt road leading into the park. By the time she was rescued, she’d lost several fingers to frostbite.
The wild country that created theses riches doesn’t give up its treasures without a fight. In the end, nature won and Bodie was forgotten, barely even mentioned in the history books.
Blurb: (click on cover to purchase)
Alex Marsden dragged Penny Layton out of the gutter and promised her a happy-ever-after-love with a house and a white-picket fence. But the Civil War changed their paths. Separated twice by circumstances beyond their control, Penny learned to survive on her own, but lost hope.
Five years later when Alex miraculously returns to her, Penny doesn’t believe in happy endings or miracles. Will Alex’s faith and love be strong enough to drag Penny out of the gutter one more time?
Tanya Stowe is an author of Christian Fiction with an unexpected edge. She fills her stories with the unusual…gifts of the spirit and miracles, mysteries and exotic travel, even an angel or two. No matter where Tanya takes you…on a journey to the Old West or to contemporary adventures in foreign lands…be prepared for the extraordinary.