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    1905 Independence Day Celebration, Bodie, California

    [California Gold Mining] 1905 Bodie Independence Day Photograph "The Horribles" - Photographer Andrew Alexander Forbes. 13.25" x 4.5". In mining camps across the West, Independence Day was a day of great celebration. This view, taken on Main Street, shows the town in its 4th of July glory. Note the red, white and blue bunting on the buildings and the potted trees lining the street (no trees grew in Bodie). The highlight of the day was the appearance of the "The Horribles". They were a group of Bodie residents that would dress in outlandish costumes acting silly and generally entertaining the local citizenry. An extremely rare image. Pictured second from the right of the horse is Mono County Sheriff James Patrick Dolan, who would be killed in the line of duty, shot by Mexican outlaws several years later. He remains the only Mono County Sheriff killed in the line of duty. Pictured from left to right: Warren Keith, Andy Roach, Tom Holland, Fred Carroll, Unknown, Jim McGinnis, William Norwood (on horse), Billy Evans, Pat Dolan, Charles Miller, Barrett, George Cramer, Bob Faulk. On porch: Gould Reading, Ollie Green, Pauline Seiler. This exceedingly rare photograph was used as an illustration in Russ and Ann Johnson's book The Ghost Town of Bodie as Reported in the Newspapers of the Day, Chalfant Press, 1967. The image remains remarkably clear with some crinkling to the paper, a few chips along the edges, mounting remnants on the verso, and three small repairs. Otherwise it is in very good condition.

    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.

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