And they did, albeit for a while. Bodie was amongst the largest towns in California with even a mini Chinatown in it. And then the gold stopped yielding. All that remained of the old timey bank was the vault perimeter and a gate.The miners had left nearly a century ago, and all that remained were what they didn't bother to take with them.
Bodie is creepy. Its like visiting an archeological site but one that had people you can relate to. They still have bits of the railroad left along with a few vehicles that have been at the mercy of the weather for decades. As I walked along the stamp mills, churches, bank and school, I thought about how strange it was that they had everything that a functioning settlement should have had and still couldn't survive.