Silver City is the queen of Idaho ghost towns. And while she may be a ghost town during the winter months, in the summer a combinatioon of weekend visitors and local residents make for a busy community.
During the late 1960's and early 1970's the Dave & Arvilla Mills family began hauling in historic local Kern Valley structures, (many of which were slated for destruction) to the present site in Bodfish. "Represented in this composite town are over twenty historic buildings (most not visible from Lake Isabella Blvd) from the mining camps of Keyesville, Whiskey Flat, old Isabella, Claraville, Hot Springs, Miracle, Southfork and other local frontier settlements" Silver City was closed for over 15 years until it was purchased by the Corlew family in 1990 and re-opened to the public shortly thereafter. Over the years it had fallen in disrepair and had been "modernized". The Corlew's have logged more than 20,000 man hours of loving restoration work on the site. Many people have donated labor and support (special thanks to Hal Brown and Don and Emily Diggles) and materials to the effort.
It is now operated as a museum to the Kern Valley's long and colorful history. Like Bodie Ghost Town in Northern California, Silver City has adopted a policy of ï¿½arrested decayï¿½. Corlew says, ï¿½We want to show how local gold outposts may have looked after the gold ran out and the miners moved on, we are not trying to make it look brand newï¿½. Visitors can go inside the original Isabella jail (gunslinger, Newt Walker was locked up here in 1905).Owner and local historian J. Paul Corlew is knowledgeable about other settlement sites nearby and will guide Ghost Town argonauts to these remnants of the "Kern Valley Diggin's" rich history.
Many believe that Silver City is haunted by spirits from that past and the site is listed in the ï¿½National Directory of Haunted Placesï¿½. Which brings to mind the question: Since most of the buildings were moved to the present site over a quarter of a century ago, did the ghost's move with the buildings or move in because it looked like home? Corlew, once a doubting Thomas, heard many stories over the years of poltergeist activity. But it was only after seven years of working on the site that he had his first conclusive sighting. ï¿½When you and two other people (all sober!) see a heavy miners lunch pail fly twelve feet across a room unaided you become a believer real quickï¿½, says Corlew. Others have reported bottles floating in the air and doors and windows opening and closing by themselves.
The infamous violin hanging in front of the general store sometimes seems to move by itself and many have heard the strings pluck as they walk by, according to Corlew. Reporter Kurt Rivera from Bakersfieldï¿½s Channel 17 News (TV) station called Silver City ï¿½The most haunted site in Kern Countyï¿½ after he and his television crew spent an eerie night in The Apalatea/Burlando house a few years back.Take a look at some of the many photos taken at Silver City by visitors and staff alike over the years and decide for yourself... apparition and orb photos.
In addition, check out Biography Channelï¿½s ï¿½My Ghost Storyï¿½ video which explores decades of alleged hauntings on site in a great 9 minute video available for download on demand see link below.
Now open year round: Open 7 days per week 10 AM-4 PM, 5 PM weekends, May 15th through September 14th. Open weekends only 10 AM-4 PM September 15th through May 14th. Often open other days by chance (and anytime by appointment)Open all major holidays except New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.