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    [California Gold Mining] 1904 Bodie Photograph Panoramic Bird's Eye View. 16" x 4½". Terrific view of Bodie taken by Alexander Forbes. In the left foreground in the wooden works of the Red Cloud Mill. On the left is the recently rebuilt Standard Mill which still overlooks the town today. Photo depicts the entire town that is still buzzing with mining excitement. Clear view of Main Street with its many saloons and hotels. An extremely rare image. There is a vertical crack in the photo on the right side with some soiling on the left side of the image.

    Andrew Alexander Forbes (1862-1921) was born in Ottawa Township, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, on April 18, 1862. Although little is known about him, his photographs remain important historical records of the reality of the harsh life in western America. In the late 1880s Forbes made seasonal circuits through Texas and Oklahoma visiting isolated ranches to photograph cowboys and their ranch life. Forbes photographed the cowboys at work as well as capturing them in their off hours doing the more mundane things of life. You'll hardly ever find Forbes's cowboy images yielding to the romantic notions popularized in Hollywood movies. There is an absence of iconic accoutrements in Forbes's images, but they are iconic nonetheless. In 1909 Forbes moved to California where he specialized in mining and commercial photography. His photographs are included in the collections of the Seaver Center for Western History Research in the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; the University of Oklahoma Library in Norman, Oklahoma; the Library of Congress; and the Smithsonian Institution National Anthropological Archives, Washington, D.C.

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    Bodie, located in Mono County, California, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains, began as a small mining camp upon the discovery of gold in 1859 by a group of prospectors including William S. Bodey. The prospector died in a blizzard the following November and never got to see the rise of the town that bore his name. For reasons unknown the district's name was changed from "Bodey" to "Body" to the final name of Bodie. Though gold had been discovered at Bodie, the silver of the Comstock Lode outshined it until 1876 when The Standard Company discovered a profitable deposit of gold-bearing ore which transformed Bodie from an isolated mining camp to a thriving and lively boomtown. Further discoveries drew more fortune seekers to the area and by 1880 Bodie had a population of approximately 5,000-7,000 people (some estimates list the population as high as 10,000) and perhaps as many as 2,000 buildings. Over the years, Bodie's mines produced gold valued at nearly $34 million dollars. Unfortunately, the boom slowly ground to a halt and by 1915 the first reference to Bodie as a ghost town was recorded. By 1920, Bodie's official population was listed as 120 people. Today Bodie is among the best preserved, original ghost town in the West.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Nov-Dec, 2011
    30th-1st Wednesday-Thursday
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