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    Huge 1880 Map of Bodie, California, Now a Famous "Ghost Town": One of the Top Rarities for California & Mining History Collectors. Fewer than five examples of the important map are known, and a couple of those are in institutional collections.

    Located about 75 miles southeast of Tahoe, Bodie began as a mining camp when gold was discovered there in 1859, about the same time silver was found at nearby Aurora. But those strikes proved not terribly rich, and by 1868 the two mining companies in the town had both failed. However, a profitable gold ore deposit found in 1876 brought the town to life. By 1879 Bodie had a population of 5000-7000 people and some 2000 buildings. The 1880 map offered here shows Bodie at the height of its hey-day. But the town's decline began toward the end of that year, as richer strikes elsewhere lured people away from Bodie. A technological advance in mining briefly revived the town in the 1890s, but by 1910 its population was 696. Hundreds of buildings stood empty, and Bodie first began to be viewed as a ghost town around 1915, when improvements in automobile travel made it accessible to hardy tourists. By 1920, the population stood at 120. By 1943 it was a ghost town in the fullest sense.

    In 1961 Bodie was declared a National Historic Landmark, and the following year it was designated a California State Historical Park, and later the state's "Official Gold Rush Town." Today 110 buildings remain in a state of arrested decay. Despite the need to travel over harsh, sometimes dirt roads to reach the town, it is still a popular destination for those who wish to get a sense of Old California in the Gold Rush days.

    The map offered here is surrounded with wonderful vignettes of prosperous Bodie businesses, mostly mining-related, in 1880. Under the map is a panoramic view of the Bodie mining district. Originally the massive map had wooden dowels across top and bottom so that it could be rolled like a scroll for easier handling and storage, and one original dowel remains. The map itself measures 60.5" x 43", and is housed in an expensive Plexiglas shadow-box-type frame which is 73.5" x 49.5". It is difficult to fully inspect this lot because of the way it is mounted and framed. But on careful examination, we have determined that there are areas of restoration, notably across the bottom (where the map would have been left most exposed when stored rolled up), and some pieces appear to have flaked away and been carefully replaced, with no apparent loss of material, except to the blank border on either side. However, it remains very display-worthy, as the catalog photo shows.

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    Auction Dates
    December, 2012
    11th-12th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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