Bodie and Aurora rivalry continues in the modern era, what is the true distance between the ghost towns?

Two towns located in the hills above Mono Lake maintain an unofficial rivalry that continues even now, long past their demise.  Bodie, CA and Aurora, NV boomed with the gold rush of the 1870s and busted just years later when the gold ran out and faded into history.  Miners, merchants, and people would undoubtedly moved either direction between the two cities and with good fortune would undoubtedly talk down the previous city.  Such is human nature, but why would this rivalry continue long past the demise of both towns?


Bodie, CA -2016

Bodie, CA -2016

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Davy Gilia (Gilia latiflora)

Davey Gilia

A Davey Gilia stalk poking up between the California Poppies in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

Davy Gilia (Gilia latiflora) also known as Hollyleaf gilia and broad-flowered gilia is a flowering plant commonly found in the open flats or sandy areas and can carpet the western Mojave Desert.  The wild flower grows at 2500 to 4000 feet in elevation and grows to reach about 18 inches in height.

The plant features a small five leafed flower about one inch across which is purple in color and features a white throat.

Typically a Southern California Flower, the Davy Gilia has been observed in southern Nevada in the areas surrounding Rhyolite and Beatty, NV.



Downeyville, Nevada

Downeyville is an old mining camp and ghost town located in Nye County, Nevada.  In May 1877 silver-lead discoveries in the area caused a large influx of start up mining camps and development.  Most of a local site, Ellsworth, made the journey to the yet to be named location.  So many people made the trip, that frequently, they were greeted with no accommodations and would be forced to sleep outside or camp.

The town of Downeyville was founded in 1878 and had a populationsof 200 men, stores, stables, Wells Fargo Express, saloons and stage lines.  A post office was added in March of 1879 and the town was named after the first postmaster, P. Downey.  By 1881 ore was shipped to the nearby Carson & Colorado railroad for processing, until a lead smelter was constructed several years later.  Like many boom towns, Downeyville passed into history with the next big discovery and by 1901 the post office was discontinued.

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Marietta, Nevada

F.M "Borax" Smith

F.M “Borax” Smith

Located at 4947 feet above sea level, Marietta was formally established in 1877 near Teel’s Marsh and is now a ghost town in Mineral County, Nevada.   F.M. “Borax” Smith a silver and gold prospector, found his place in the world, when he established a borax works in Teel’s Marsh in 1872.

Soon after the town was founded, the populations swelled to several hundred people, however exact figures are unknown due to inaccurate record keeping among the Chinese populations who worked in the borax plant.  The town soon boasted 13 saloons, a post office and several stores.

The town had a rowdy image and due to its remote location made it an easy target for robbers, and for criminals to run free.  At one point in the 1880 the stage was reported robbed 30 times.  Continue Reading →

Rawhide, Nevada

Rawhide was a mining town located approximately 55 miles south of Fallon, and 22 miles down a dirt road south of highway 50.  The town was founded in 1906 when gold and silver deposits were discovered by prospector Jim Swanson in the hills surrounding Rawhide.  Charles  B. Holman and Charles “Scotty” A. McLeod soon join him and also found gold on nearby Holligan Hill.


Rawhide, Nevada

Rawhide, Nevada 1915

Rawhide is an example of a town that existed on the promise and promotion of gold rather than the production of gold.    Fueled by rampant speculation the population swelled.  Rawhide boasts four churches, three banks, twelve hotels, twenty eight restaurants, thirty seven saloons, a theater and a school to support a population of 7,000 in 1908.  However, the over promise and under delivery of gold doomed the town, at its glory began to fade.

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