Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Arrested Decay: A Wild West Ghost Town

How does a town become one of ghosts?

This Wild West ghost town, Bodie, began as a small mining camp after gold was discovered in 1859 by a group of prospectors - including W.S. Bodey.

The old, gold mining town lies in California's eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, around 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe.

Filmmaker, photographer and producer Aya Okawa travelled to Bodie in October to explore what remains of it. Her eerie photo series captures sun rays filtering into dusty, abandoned rooms.

Having had its peak in the 1880s, the town started to decline in the 1890s. Bodie was first referred to as a 'ghost town' in 1915 though residents were still living there.

"When I was shooting, a number of houses had calendars on the walls from the early 1900s," said Okawa. "Now, the site is monitored by the California State Park service to protect the historical buildings from looters.

"They preserve it in a state of 'arrested decay' - so the items are not moved, and the dust is left intact - built up over decades and decades."

Not all of the town survived, but 110 or so structures still stand - including one of the once many gold mills. The buildings' interiors are as originally left, with domestic furniture sitting as the town's citizens had arranged them and stores remaining stocked with goods.

Click ‘Begin Slideshow’ to see the full photo gallery.

See more of Okawa's explorations at

1 of 16
2 of 16
3 of 16
4 of 16
5 of 16
6 of 16
7 of 16
8 of 16
9 of 16
10 of 16
11 of 16
12 of 16
13 of 16
14 of 16
15 of 16
16 of 16

Share Article

Write a comment