A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Saloons and Gaming Halls

Bodie's Main Street was a mile long and most of the 60 some-odd saloons were on that street.  With so many to choose from, how did one decide?  I suspect location was important - how close it was to your home. You surely didn't want to slog through any more snow in sub-zero weather than you absolutely had to for a shot of whisky.  Maybe some were more low key with less likelihood of a gun fight breaking out (my choice).  I'd think with all the competition, prices would be pretty much equal.  Of course who had the prettier women I am sure had a big influence upon your decision making. 

The sun really played havoc with me on this saloon and the windows were exceptionally dirty to boot.
Can you hear the piano player banging away on the keys with the clickiky-click sound of the roulette wheel as an accompaniment?

Not as big as you see in western movies. I remember seeing the famous Bird Cage Theatre Saloon in Tombstone Arizona and it was a very small place, not much bigger than this it seemed.
Not very much room to quickly draw your gun or duck flying lead.

I included this only because of the slot machine.  One could sit and play just like today.

This saloon offered much better lighting for pictures. 
Looks like it offered meals too.  That would be an incentive over a saloon that did not.
I bet the chalkboard on the back wall was the menu for the day.
I just went to the original and zoomed in on it.  It says Today's Special and underneath, the first word is almost rubbed out then, & onions. 

I was thinking could the one stove put out enough heat to keep the place warm?  Well with a few dozen warm bodies inside, probably so.  Then I thought of those few dozen warm bodies, filthy dirty grungy miners that hadn't taken a bath in who knows how long? 
Imagine the smell in these saloons!

Someone suggested I try a sepia tone image, so here is one.


  1. I couldn't be looking for a cold drink in sub-zero temps. A hot toddy maybe…! That township sure was humming in it it's day. I guess it might've been a bit of honkey-tonking on those ivories? Pressed tin walls? That's a pretty fancy pool table too! Yes the sepia really works well John. Seems a little syncronicity as we're both postingn outback pubs.

  2. Very nice pictures of the old saloons, as if everybody left very sudden. The sepia is really beautiful!

  3. This has been a very interesting tour of Bodie! It is easy to just let your mind wander and you can make up all sorts of stories about those empty tables...thank you!

  4. i like the way you make us even 'smell' the place in its heyday. :)

  5. LoL! Oh the horror of the smells... that's scary enough, right there!
    But, yeah, much, much smaller than in the movies... no wonder all those rough-housin gun-slingin villains couldn't get along in such close quarters & drinkin, to boot! YiKeS!

    Is all that stuff actually left from the 1800's? The pool tables & pool sticks & everything? They could sell that stuff & make bookoo's! I'd love to have that cabinet w/ bottles on it in the back of the 1st pic... WoW! =)

  6. Instead of having sooo many different saloons, they coulda built larger ones & they'd have made more $ at time... I'd think, anyway... it can't be comfortable sitting in such a small bar while drinking & listening to music... not to mention the 'ladies of the night' runnin around... sheesh!

  7. I can't believe there is some much stuff there. Love the Sepia.

  8. the sepia image is jaw-dropping. what a grand suggestion, I'm happy you complied. that pool table is like none other. oh my word how I'd loved to have smelled and seen this place. this is the next best thing. if you haven't already, I suggest that you watch Deadwood. It was an HBO series awhile back and I own every season. I've watched it three times and am about to have a fourth go-round. Western is my favorite genre of movie and it doesn't get any better than that. I tell you. "Swedgin".

  9. I made the tour through all of your Brodie photos so far. Really fascinating.


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