October 21, 2011

Fixing a hole where the rain gets in


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photo by Donald Kinney

Aside from being in the middle-of-nowhere and difficult to get to, another problem was Bodie's elevation at 8300 feet. Not much of anything useful grows at this altitude, so everything needed for daily life and the operation of the mines and smelters needed to be brought in. This wasn't a small project for an isolated town with a population of 10,000 in it's glory-days.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Wood for housing and mine construction needed to come long distances and was expensive, but most wood that arrived in Bodie was used to fire steam boilers used as a source of heat in the smelting and refining processes.

It is worth noting that the refining process of low grade ores involved working with deadly chemicals such as cyanide and mercury. And since in those days few people had any idea about the lasting toxic effects of these materials they were used with reckless abandon.

These deadly chemicals remain to this day. Chemicals continue to percolate down into ground water. This problem is not just isolated to Bodie--the entire "Gold Rush" country remains a mess of chemical pollution.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Just about the time a railroad line was completed to bring Bodie timber from the south end of Mono Lake, the production of electricity from a generator placed at a rapid stream 22 miles away made mining a much more efficient craft.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

It would take decades for the first electric can-opener to be invented but in the meantime miners would carefully cut open and flatten their empty tin cans, recycling them by tacking them to siding and roofs as an extra barrier against the harsh Bodie winters.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Fixing a hole where the rain gets in.



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3 comments:

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

What a tough group of people who could live such a harsh and cold life. I'd not survive the first winter. They were quite resourceful recycling the materials on hand.

photowannabe said...

Resourceful people for sure. I guess I am spoiled and like the comforts of home. Rough winters would be too harsh for me.
Terrific, interesting pictures of the tin siding and roofs.

Hilda R.B said...

Lovely photos. Well done.

 
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