I snapped these photos in the ghost town of Bodie, California. Only about 100 of the original buildings remain. In 1879, there were 60 saloons alone. Now, California State Parks has preserved Bodie in a state of "arrested decay," meaning it's being preserved as it was 50 years ago when the last of its 10,000 residents left.
Bodie is by far the best ghost town in the West. It was once the wildest and most lawless town in the West. Gunfights, stage holdups, robberies, street fights and even murders were common. The town boomed only for a few years in the late 1870s. By 1881, the gold mines were depleted and only 1,500 residents remained.
Today you can pay $7 to visit Bodie. There's nothing there but the old buildings, a few of which are open, some rusty old cars, the cemetery and odds and ends from the past inside the old homes and stores. The town is deep in snow during the winter, so don't even try to visit then. From mid-May to mid October, it can be reached via U.S. 395 just south of Bridgeport, Calif., and then about 13 miles of mostly paved road (the last three miles is dirt). There are no food concessions, just a water faucet or two.
If you want to see a really great American ghost town, this is the one to see, no doubt about it.