September 2012 RoundUp: Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Join the Westerners Los Angeles Corral for the September 2012 Roundup, Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at Almansor Court, 700 South Almansor, Alhambra, California.

Click the image for a larger view

Click the image for a larger view

Social Hour will begin at 5PM, with Dinner served at 6PM.

Our speaker will be Dydia DeLyser, and her topic is entitled Bodie, California: Boom Town, Ghost Town, Tourist Town.

For more information on Ms. DeLyser and her presentation:

Gold was discovered in Bodie, California in 1859, and by the late 1870s the town boasted a population of as many as 10,000. Bodie is located in the high desert mountians of California’s Eastern Sierra. As with other mining towns, of course, that boom did not last. By the early 1880s a much smaller town remained, one that continued to decline in population and change in character for the next several decades. A little after 1900, Bodie became one of the first places referred to as a “ghost town” and a new group of people began visiting: tourists.

Dydia DeLyser’s presentation will first sketch a brief history of the town, its boom and bust, and then look in detail at how tourism transformed and saved Bodie, as well as how contemporary tourism in Bodie works. Dydia began serious research on the ghost town as a graduate student in 1994, engaging in many years of ethnographic and archival research. Her study has revealed how the American understanding of ghost towns was formed in part by town-dwellers themselves, as they romanticized and dramatized their own pasts, and how those understandings were later linked to film and ficitional accounts of the American mythic West.

Dydia is currently an associate professor of Geography at Louisiana State University. That may seem like a long way from Bodie, California but she served for ten years 1988-1997 as a seasonal maintenance worker at Bodie State Historic Park, and has worked there as a summer-time volunteer ever since. Beginning in the early 1990s she undertook docotral research there, and wrote her PhD dissertation, and later several articles about Bodie.

– Joe Cavallo, Deputy Sheriff