Destroyed Standard Mining Company Mill, Bodie, California 1899[California Gold Mining] 1899 Bodie Photograph - Standard Mining Company Mill, Explosion and Fire. 8" x 6" photograph mounted to a studio board measuring 10" x 7.75". Photographed by William Thompson, Virginia City, Nevada. In early 1899 there was a tremendous explosion in the Standard Mining Company's Mill. The explosion and ensuing fire destroyed the entire operation. The explosion was said to have been heard in Bridgeport, California, over thirty miles away. The photo was taken by William Thompson, a photographer from Virginia City, Nevada. The image shows the destruction with several men standing among the rubble. The Standard was still a very profitable enterprise and the destroyed Mill built of wood, was quickly rebuilt of metal. It still sits in Bodie today as the town's most prominent building. A copy of this illustration appeared in Russ and Anne Johnson's book The Ghost Town of Bodie as Reported in the Newspapers of the Day, Chalfant Press, Bishop, California, 1967. Small sections of the lower corners of the studio board are missing with some loss to the photographer's information. The image has scattered spotting to the emulsion and a small area of discoloration in the upper right corner, otherwise it is a bright, clear image in near fine condition.
BodieBodie, 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.
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