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The Bodie Mercantile was opened in May of 2018

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Keeping Decay Under Arrest for 50 Years

(article from Bodie Times, Spring 2012)

Fifty years ago, the State of California concluded negotiations with the J. S. Cain family and other landholders to acquire properties that make up the ghost town of Bodie. The state conducted an extensive “inventory” of the condition of each structure and developed a strategic plan for continued management of the town. The plan they put together is still in use today.

It is a plan that allows the visitor to step back in time. As you look around, most of the buildings standing today are as they were in 1962. The structures are maintained under a state of “arrested decay”, which means keeping what is standing, standing. This strategy presents a significant, ongoing challenge. It’s a battle fought against worthy opponents – snow, wind, marauding cows and available budget to fund needed work. These battles are really a testament to the need for continued funding.

The Bodie Foundation, in keeping with one of its primary charters, had an opportunity to help with several tasks. The Foundation has funded all the labor to accomplish an ambitious list of six tasks. State Parks has committed resources (materials), along with additional manpower throughout the summer. These tasks are:

(1) A new ceiling for the Gregory house (#52 on the self-guided tour brochure)

(2) Interior stabilization for the Kirkwood house (#18)

(3) Stabilization and partial roof restoration of the swayback Bell garage (part of #11)

(4-5) Roof repairs of the Moyle house (#65) and Donnelly house(#8)

(6) Roof repair of the train depot office building (roofline visible on the ridgeline near water tower).

These tasks are a perfect example of the types of projects that must be done on a continuing basis to keep these old buildings standing, one which the Bodie Foundation is very pleased to fund. The money generated by foundation memberships, items sold from the museum, our online store and last but not least, donations, make these projects possible.

Without our members and their continued support, none of this would be possible. The Bodie Foundation is doing our best to be responsible stewards of the monies and trust that you place in us. In profiling some of this work, our intent is to share a sense of real accomplishment with our membership.

Watch for a follow-up article showing results of these tasks in our fall newsletter.

When you’re in Bodie this summer, look for our banners on buildings that are undergoing this important task – these are your funds at work to arrest that dreaded decay.