July 2010 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts










Room 8-The Most Famous Cat in Los Angeles




Sky high gas prices along with sluggish economic conditions have severely impacted our tour business for over a year.

We have reluctantly decided to suspend our tour operations for the time being.

Our sincere thanks and appreciation to all who continue to support us.

LOGO T Shirts Available


Explore Historic California with our  logo depicting the California backcountry and its rich history both true and farce.

We now offer shirts, sweats, jerseys and cups with our logo.

Click the shirt for details!


Friends of Last Chance Canyon is a new organization interested in sustaining and protecting areas within the El Paso Mountains, near Ridgecrest, California. The main focus is preserving and protecting historic sites like Burro Schmidt's tunnel and the Walt Bickel Camp.

Please click on either logo to visit the FLCC site.

We support

Bodie Foundation
"Protecting Bodie's Future by Preserving Its Past


SATURDAY, AUG. 14, 2010



Next month marks the anniversaries of Beverly Mason's death (Aug. 7) and Room 8's death (Aug. 13). 

Remember them by supporting Room 8's charitable legacy with  a donation to the Room 8 Memorial Cat Foundation or adopting one of their cats.

Click on Room 8's photo or phone

951-361-2205 for more information.

Mules can taste the difference--so can you



The Panamint Breeze is a newsletter for people who love the rough and rugged deserts and mountains of California and beyond.

Published by Ruth and Emmett Harder, it is for people who are interested in the history of mining in the western states; and the people who had the fortitude to withstand the harsh elements.

It contains stories of the past and the present; stories of mining towns and the colorful residents who lived in them; and of present day adventurers.

Subscriptions are $20 per year (published quarterly – March, June, September & December) Subscriptions outside the USA are $25 per year. All previous issues are available. Gift certificates are available also.

To subscribe mail check (made payable to Real Adventure Publishing) along with name, address, phone number & e-mail address to:  Real Adventure Publishing, 18201 Muriel Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92407.

For more information about the Panamint Breeze e-mail Ruth at:  echco@msn.com

It's always FIRE SEASON! Click the NIFC logo above to see what's burning.



Click on the bag to find out how.

Visit Michael Piatt's site, www.bodiehistory.com, for the truth behind some of Bodie's myths.

Terri Geissinger is a Bodie area Historian, Guide and Chautauquan. A long time resident who lives in Bodie and Smith Valley, she is dedicated to preserving stories of the pioneer families, miners, ranchers and teamsters. Click the photo for information on her tours with the Bodie Foundation.

Credo Quia Absurdum

Back to the past in California City--Wimpy's!

8209 California City Blvd.,
California City, 93505

Hey Brother,

Can 'Ya

Spare a Job?

The nation's economic downturn has severely affected the newspaper industry. My job of nearly 30 years was eliminated several months ago.

I'm actively looking for full or part time job opportunities within my diverse skill set.

If you have, or know of any openings, please contact me through this CONTACT  link.




Explore Historic California!

     Not too many years ago, the family station wagon was the magic carpet to adventure. Today, that family station wagon is likely to be a four wheel drive sport utility vehicle or pick up truck. SUV's and other 4x4's are one of the best selling classes of vehicles. Ironically, industry statistics show that once purchased, few owners will dare to drive their vehicles off the paved highway.

     Click your mouse through the website and enjoy our armchair adventures and the histories behind them.



Budding Boomtown Celebrates

Fourth of July in Style – 1878 Bodie

by Cecile Page Vargo











From June 1 to August 7, 1878, the stock of the Bodie Mine began a rapid ascend from $1 to $18 per share in a gold ore frenzy. The camp which shared the mine’s name was feverish with excitement, as nearly overnight, hundreds of citizens found themselves wealthy. With the Fourth of July occurring in the midst of the excitement, the birth of a mining boomtown was cause for elaborate celebration. 

Although there were no trees in Bodie, and wood was one of the most precious commodities, saplings were cut in neighboring mountains and placed along Main Street. Buildings were decked with red white and blue bunting and flags adorned rooftops. The sound of a thirteen gun salute greeted the day as the sun rose over the Bodie Hills.

If this was not enough to arouse the sleeping Bodieites, surely the sound of the town youth setting off firecrackers and torpedoes did. By mid-morning, sidewalks, porches and windows were crowded with people dressed in their Sunday finest in anticipation of the first parade in honor of their country’s birthday.

In keeping with the congenial spirit of the proverbial mining camp, the Bodie Weekly Standard of July 3, 1878 had prepared everyone for the parade route:

“At the drop of a hat the lines will form and waltz into position, forming into a solid hollow circle, skipping five abreast in single file from the North Pole to Brigham Young’s Dormitory, halting five seconds for refreshments, thence returning to J. N. Summers and Co.’s Slaughter House, thence in diagonal oblique line to Bodie Bluff where they will vanish into thin air to the music of the tinkling of millions of beer glasses.”

The officers of the Day were presented as the Bullwhackers of the Century. The usual jab at Useless Grant was mentioned, and the Bodie Band was noted as the Boston Cast Iron Band.

The actual procession formed at promptly 10:30 a.m. near the Miners’ Union Hall and began the march down Main Street., with the Carson City Brass Band leading the way. Grand Marshal S. W. Blasdel carried a baton of authority as he as he sat astride a coal black horse; his staff following on equally splendid horses.

Mexican War and Civil War veterans followed. Thirty-eight young girls in frilly dresses, represented the states.  Miss Rosa McAlpin was dressed as the Goddess of Liberty. Officers of the Day, President, Orator , Poet and Reader followed in horse drawn carriage.

Theresa Holmdrup dressed in patriotic wardrobe, July 4, 1899 in Bodie.

(Image courtesy Holmdrup family archive)

One hundred fifty miners, wearing blue silk badges with an image of a miner with pick and shovel and reading “Bodie Miner’s Union" marched, followed by the members of the Bodie Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges.

The Bodie Mutts and Red Cloud baseball teams, dressed proudly in new uniforms, marched down the streets, creating excitement for the game later that day. Junta Patrioitica Mexica de Bodie came after the baseball clubs, on horses, proudly wearing silk sashes displaying colors of their native country.

Following the parade of Bodie bands, dignitaries, patriots, baseballs teams, and grand orders were the young men of the B.S.S. on their fine horses, with their new silk badges displaying their initials. (Ed-Warren Loose, author of Bodie Bonanza, makes no mention of what order B.S.S. represents)

Captain John, Chief of the Paiutes, was interviewed well in advance of the grand day, and a genuine old fashioned war dance was arranged. The chief promised four or five hundred “heap Indians” would gather on the hills above town in painted faces, complete with war whoops which were known to put fear and trembling in many an old Bodie prospector in more primitive days. Before this early example of Piute living history, Captain John and his band of war re-enactors, were treated to “Heap Hog Die” at the community barbeque.

The crowd must have roared with excitement during the first organized Bodie baseball game. The Bodie Mutts beat the Red Cloud, 20-5. Equally entertaining, were the Bodie Horribles, who took great pleasure in mocking and making fun of anyone and everyone as they paraded around town at various events throughout the day, with great proclamation and oration, dressed as clowns.

Bodie's "horribles" may have looked something like these modern day reenactors as they pranced through the streets.

No celebration, Fourth of July, or any other on the Bodie calendar, would be complete without a mass exodus to the local drinking establishments. At least 27 saloons dotted the high desert landscape of the flourishing town. Toasts were made to the roaring mining camp, and glasses rose to the gold that was being continually pulled out of the hills. Blue Blazers, Whisky Straight, and Tarantula Juice quenched the thirsts of the patriotic celebrants.

Fifty miners from the Bodie Mine were among those in the streets and saloons of Bodie on July 4,  1878. Although sworn to secrecy by their bosses, the passing of gold-laced quartz from hand to hand in small groups throughout town was not left unnoticed, arousing curiosity and questions. Men patted backs, and shared secrets. Excitement built among the citizens who held Bodie Mine stock.

In a day of firsts for the boomtown, as the dark of night set upon the landscape, Professor Porter’s string band could be heard playing for Bodie’s premiere Grand Ball in the Miners’ Union Hall. Afterwards, tired, but happy residents of Bodie headed for their homes.

It was grand to live in the United States of America and celebrate its birthday, but it was even grander to celebrate with visions of Bodie gold and wealth to come.  

Throughout the years, Bodie would continue to celebrate our nation’s holiday in fine style, through boom and bust. Even as the old camp faded to a mere shadow of it’s former self, and a few hearty pioneer families held on to their dreams, Bodieite Lauretta Gray talked of the early 1900’s and her childhood celebrations.

“We had a big float and us kids rode on the float. We’d go from Bodie to Bridgeport and all around. Dressed elegantly, best we could in those days. Then we had a baseball game. We had footraces. And I skinned them all!. They had (miners’ contests) and they had potato races and sack races and of course fireworks.”

Bodie staff and volunteers continue the 4th of July tradition by participating in the Bridgeport parade.

In modern times, as the struggling remnants of Bodie stand in arrested decay as a California State Park, tourists from all over the world wander into town, for the most part unaware of the Fourth of July’s of yesteryear.

Members of the Bodie Foundation and park staff that can be spared on the busy holiday, and volunteers head into the nearby town of Bridgeport to represent the ghost town in the parade and street fair.

To see Bodie come to life as it was in it’s heyday, visitors can enjoy old fashioned fun and events, complete with period costume, horses, wagons, and old automobiles at the annual Friends of Bodie Day, the second Saturday of every August.



Bodie 1859 – 1900

by Frank S. Wedertz

Sierra Media Inc., 2003


Bodie Bonanza, The True Story of a Flamboyant Past

by Warren loose

Exposition Press, 1971


Bodie’s Gold

by Marguerite Sprague

University of Nevada Press, 2003


The Story of Bodie

by Ella Cain

Fearon Publishers, 1956


Holmdrup family archive



Cerro Gordo Update

Cerro Gordo is Closed to Visitors

Cerro Gordo's American Hotel (center) and nearby buildings are surrounded by a blanket of snow.

The town of Cerro Gordo is officially closed at this time - until further notice.

However, the road is a County Road, and pictures of the buildings may be taken from the road.

There is absolutely no trespassing off the road. A caretaker is on site, so please observe the no trespassing.

Please do not hesitate to contact Sean Patterson at:

Cell phone: 661-303-3692 or

Email address: sean@smpatterson.com

Stay tuned to this website or our Facebook page for updates on Cerro Gordo's status.





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