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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bridgeport in Mono County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Poor Farm

 
 
Poor Farm Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 25, 2008
1. Poor Farm Marker
Inscription.  It began as the county hospital in Bodie in 1879. With the decline of Bodie in the mid 1880’s, the hospital was moved eventually to a site east of this monument and Highway 395 to the rear of the small meadow that you see. At that time it became known as the “Poor Farm”, a refuge for the aged, ill, and penniless. It continued to operate for several years, but the high cost of maintaining the facility forced its closure and the building and property were put up for bid and sold to a local rancher.
 
Erected 1990 by Bodie Chapter No. 64, E Clampus Vitus (Dedicated September 8, 1990).
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkScience & Medicine. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1879.
 
Location. 38° 11.823′ N, 119° 13.14′ W. Marker is in Bridgeport, California, in Mono County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 395 and Green Creek Road, on the right when traveling south on U.S. 395. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bridgeport CA 93517, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
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At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Dog Town (approx. 2.3 miles away); Dynamo Plant and Pond (approx. 3˝ miles away); Little Bodie (approx. 3.7 miles away); "Bridgeport Inn" (approx. 4.1 miles away); Frontier Justice (approx. 4.1 miles away); Mono County Court House (approx. 4.1 miles away); "The Irwin" (approx. 4.1 miles away); Bridgeport Chronicle-Union (approx. 4.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bridgeport.
 
More about this marker. On some maps, Green Creek Road is known as Green Lakes Road.
 
Regarding Poor Farm. The Mono County voter registration records of 1908 (courtesty of CAgenweb.com) indicate one Joseph N. Anderson, age 54, resident of Bridgeport, as a manager of a "poor farm", so it is likely the Poor Farm was still in existence at that date.

Frank Wedertz, in his "Mono Diggings" (1978) had this to say about the Bodie Poor Farm:

"The County Hospital, which was established at Bodie in 1879, was very difficult to administer, and it was often investigated by the Board of Supervisors. When Bodie declined and the hospital was moved to a spot opposite the intersection of Highway 395 and the Green Creek road, the administration of the Poor Farm, as it was then known, remained a problem for the
Poor Farm Marker - Wide Shot image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 25, 2008
2. Poor Farm Marker - Wide Shot
County. It became a refuge for the aged, ill and penniless. A cemetery was soon populated across the ridge behind the Poor Farm, and as tax revenues from the once flush Bodie and Lundy camps diminished to almost nothing, the Board of Supervisors complained of the cost of maintaining the facilities. In 1891, for example, the officials complained that the bills submitted at the last session were a curiosity, whisky and patent medicines predominated. The Board maintained that whisky might be a necessity but they felt that it should be bought by the barrel instead of by the bottle or glass. They recommended that patent medicines should have been bought by the case and pointed to the fact that one man drank four large bottles a month, and that was a medicine that was supposed to have been taken by the spoon. They also complained that tramps found the hospital a convenient layover."
 
Poor Farm - Former Location image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 25, 2008
3. Poor Farm - Former Location
The meadow location mentioned on the marker. A scan with binoculars revealed what may have been remains of a rock wall or foundation near the large tree at the back of the meadow. Or it may have simply been a rock formation.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 10, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California. This page has been viewed 2,498 times since then and 89 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on September 10, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California.   2, 3. submitted on September 11, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.

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Jul. 18, 2024