Five Old West Towns Have Become Real Estate Opportunities
There’s a new sheriff in town in some Old West ghost towns: real estate brokers. And they’re looking to wrangle buyers.
There are more than a few reasons somebody might want to own an entire town, even ones without people or infrastructure. Some buyers might be drawn to the romanticism of owning a piece of history, while others are merely seeking to expand their investment portfolio and then there are the more practical types who wish to develop the land for their own use.
What the towns themselves all have in common, of course, is that they are abandoned. And depending on a multitude of factors, they can fetch a range of prices, with some going for millions of dollars.
There may not be a site like Zillow dedicated to listing ghost towns for sale, but if you look around you’ll see they come to market more than you might expect.
Here are five such examples:
The adult circus Spiegelworld, led by Australian founder Ross Mollison, bought the 80-acre town of Nipton for $2. 5 million with the vision of building a “circus village.”
Mollison’s Spiegelworld is best known for its “Absinthe” show that runs out of a tent at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. It also runs “Atomic Saloon” and “Opium” in Las Vegas, and the Hook in Atlanta. Its shows have been described as “riotous,” “raunchy” and “rowdy.”
Before Mollison and his acrobats came along, Nipton had been owned by a California couple for decades. Jerry Freeman surprised his wife, Roxanne Lang, by buying the town for $200,000 in the early 1980s. After Freeman died in 2016, Lang set out to sell the property, first striking a deal with the Phoenix-based cannabis company American Green for $5 million in 2017.
Cerro Gordo, California
Cerro Gordo, an abandoned mining town 200 miles from L.A., sold to a group of eight Los Angeles-based investors in 2018 for between $1 million and $1.5 million, about a 40 percent bump from its $925,000 asking price.
The buyers are Brent Underwood, a hospitality entrepreneur and best-selling author, and Jon Bier, who runs a boutique public relations firm. Underwood declined to comment on the exact price.
At the time of the sale, the 360-acre town featured 22 structures totaling 24,000 square feet, and included a historic hotel, bunkhouse, saloon, chapel and museum. The town, once known to produce most of L.A.’s silver and lead, epitomized the Wild Wild West. At one time, there was a murder a week there.
Underwood has added to the colorful history of the town, having gotten stranded there in 2021, according to the Travel Channel. He said at the time his goal is to renovate the structures in the town and continue to live there.
Alexander Bardoff, who bought Lobo with a group of friends for $20,000 in 2001, announced recently he’s looking for someone to buy the ghost town for $100,000, provided the buyer appreciates its history, the Wall Street Journal reported.
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Prospective buyers presented a wide range of ideas for Lobo’s future, including a kangaroo farm, a nudist colony and an escape-room-style attraction where people escape from the town, not just a room.
Lobo’s history dates back to the mid-19th century, when it served as a stopover on the mail route from San Antonio to San Diego. Over time, the town grew, but after its last resident departed in 1991, Lobo remained empty until Bardorff and his friends transformed it into an artistic hub, hosting art installations, film festivals, and musical performances.
The town is composed of 10 acres and has an empty swimming pool as well as a motel, grocery store and post office, all of which are defunct, as well as vacant houses.
Bardoff says he’s not willing to sell the town to just anyone.
“Do you respect what I call the soul of Lobo?” Bardorff told the WSJ. “You can have a campground anywhere.”
Some purchasers are as mysterious as the ghost town itself. To wit: A secretive company called Ecology Mountain Holdings bought Cerritos, a California ghost town, from Eagle Mountain Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Kaiser Steel, earlier this year for $22.5 million, SFGate reported.
The only publicly available information about the buying entity is its name; its Cerritos, California address; and that it bought the ghost town, Eagle Mountain, California.
Kaiser Steel was one of many companies owned and led by Henry J. Kaiser, a 20th century industrialist who had shipbuilding, health care, automobile, aluminum, real estate and media enterprises. His most visible legacy remaining today is the health care giant Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Steel closed its doors in 1983, and so did the Eagle Mountain mine. The prosperity of blowing iron ore out of the hillside had withered.
What Ecology Mountain Holdings has in store for the town, which once sported a post office, a 350-seat rec center and a 100-student high school, remain unknown.
OK, less a town than a building, owner Patricia Burris listed for $1.1 million her 127-year-old ghost town general store known as the Arizona Ghost Town Museum after converting it to a one-bedroom home, Insider reported.
Burris and her husband Michael, a historian, bought the general store at 905 South Ghost Town Trail in 1996. The 3,900-square-foot building, originally built in 1895, has just one bedroom and two-and-a-half bathrooms, according to Realtor.com.
It was his dream to restore the property, and after he passed away Burris completed the renovation in 2019, according to the outlet. Burris’ finished Ghost Town Museum comes with working vintage appliances from the era, a working blacksmith shop and antique horse carriages in the garage.
It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Want to Buy a West Texas Ghost Town? Now’s Your Chance. – Texas Monthly
Lobo, Texas, has gone through more transformations than Madonna. In the 1850s this lonely patch of West Texas, roughly halfway between Van Horn and Valentine on U.S. 90, was just some land on top of the recently discovered Van Horn Wells, the only water source in a hundred-mile radius. In the 1860s it was little more than a stop on the San Antonio–San Diego mail route, and in the 1880s it was a place where steam locomotives could refill their water tanks on their journey out to far West Texas. Lobo finally got a post office in 1907, and for decades in the mid-twentieth century it was a hub for the region’s thriving cotton farming community, though Lobo’s population never surpassed one hundred. In the 1980s the aquifer was just about pumped dry, and by 1991 Lobo was a ghost town. It spent the next decade completely empty, its remaining structures—a gas station, a motel, the grocery store, and a few abandoned houses—withering away under the harsh West Texas winds, until a handful of artists from Frankfurt, Germany, decided to buy it and make it their own.
“One of my friends drove by it in 1999, so [two years later, in 2001] we pooled our money and bought the town,” recalls Alexander Bardorff, one of Lobo’s Frankfurter owners, and the only one of the group who lives in the United States (he currently resides in Tucson, Arizona). Bardorff declined to say how much the group paid. The Germans fixed up Lobo as best they could, digging new wells, installing a bathhouse, and giving the remaining buildings new roofs and windows.
For twenty years these bohemians used Lobo as a way to get away from it all, hosting music and film festivals and inviting artists from all over the world. But since nobody lived on the property year-round, there was always a lot of upkeep. “You come back after a year and things have been destroyed, and then you have to start over again,” recalls Bardorff. The Germans were also plagued by the same worry that ails many a Texan landowner: are we going to run out of water this year? When borders were closed during the pandemic, Bardorff was the only owner who could even hope to visit. As time passed, the property became more and more difficult to maintain. “I’ll be seventy years old in a month, and all my other friends are in Germany, so we’re just running out of energy,” says Bardorff. Which means the ghost town is ready to go through its next great transformation, and any one of us could be the one to shepherd Lobo through it.
Structures in Lobo.Alexander Bardorff
The Germans are ready to sell, and they’ve set up a handy informational website (which does not include an asking price). Bardorff also encourages all interested parties to email him at [email protected]. The Frankfurters do not wish to sell to just anyone. They know the area has recently been experiencing something of a boom, thanks to the growing popularity of Marfa, which is about sixty miles to the southeast, and Van Horn, fifteen miles to Lobo’s north, the town that houses Blue Origin’s launch site. “We don’t want to sell Lobo just to someone for the water rights, or as grazing land,” Bardorff says. The Frankfurters purchased Lobo with a vision, and they want its next owner or owners to be similarly quixotic. “We are not just trying to make a profit. We would like to find a group of people that want to do something interesting out there. Not necessarily what we did, but some idea.”
To entice the right kind of buyer, Bardorff and his fellow owners are hosting another event out in Lobo during Memorial Day weekend. They invite any and all to come out and hang, even if you have no interest in buying the property. “They can camp for free. They can use the bathhouse. Just enjoy being out in the desert, enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy the solitude,” Bardorff says. He made a point to tell me if any bands are interested in playing he’ll be bringing “a twelve-channel PA with monitors” down from Tucson. “All they have to do is plug in,” he says.
Top 12 US Ghost Towns with Photos &
Top 12 US Ghost Towns with Photos & | Perito
Last War, Next War. Perito’s special project on how Putin built and restored the national military idea of the Wild West and other towns with the prefix “former”.
Not everything that glitters is gold, but not only gold can make a fortune. Brave diggers began flocking to this remote corner of Alaska in the 1900s, after a pair of prospectors stumbled upon $200 million worth of copper ore.
In 1903, the Utah Copper Company was formed, which turned the place into a self-contained working community that even had a tennis court and an ice skating rink. K 19On the 38th, however, the copper deposits came to an end, and the mines had to be closed. Today, the abandoned village of Kennecott is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and part of the Rangel St. Elias National Park.
Coordinates: 61.486920, -142.8
St. Elmo, CO
Once a pompous gold mining town and a popular stop for Pacific Coast railroad travelers, St. Elmo was founded in 1880.
Previously, there were two thousand inhabitants and 150 mines, as well as hotels, pubs, brothels and the best discos of those times. The music did not last long: in 1910 the Alpine railway tunnel was closed, the price of precious metals had already fallen by that time, and the railway service ceased in 1922.
Now there is little left here: a small house where you can stay, and a shop for all occasions, open from summer to October, weather permitting, where you can buy all sorts of antiques and rent an all-terrain vehicle.
Coordinates: 38.703817, -106.346216
One of America’s most famous and largest unspoiled ghost town, more like the backdrop for another western. In complete safety there are two thousand buildings, including 200 restaurants.
The city was founded in 1859 when a certain William S. Body discovered large deposits of gold in the area. From 20 gold miners, the population of the city grew dramatically to ten thousand during the California Gold Rush – by 1880, 65 bars and their own red light district were already open. However, the gold reserves were dwindling, and with them the population of Bodi was dwindling. K 19The 42nd closed the last mine.
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Today Bodie is a US National Historic Landmark and part of the California Park System. The shops are full of food, but nothing is sold and you can’t touch it, you need to bring food and water with you. Billiard tables with cues and balls, furniture, dishes in bars are exactly in the same condition as they were left by people who left this place more than 50 years ago.
Coordinates: 38.209019, -119.014454
In 1880, two prospectors discovered silver deposits here, quickly formed a digging association, and within two weeks a town was founded, streets laid out, and a house of justice erected. Within five years, 20 bars opened in Ashcroft, and the number of residents exceeded 3. 5 thousand. However, by the end of 1885, the reserves of silver mines were depleted, and only 100 people remained to live here.
By the 1930s, in connection with the Lake Placid Winter Olympics, there was a sudden resurgence of interest in the site, with Billy Fisk, the then youngest Winter Olympic champion, planning to build a ski resort here. In 1928, when he won his first Games as part of the bobsled five, he was only 16 years old (the record was only surpassed in 1992). But in 1940, Billy, an RAF pilot, died in World War II, and plans to build a resort in Ashcroft were dashed. At 19On the 39th, the last inhabitant left the city.
Coordinates: 39.054999, -106.799675
Cahaba’s history is typical of a ghost town. From 1820 to 1825, it was even the capital of Alabama, but after several serious floods, the inhabitants preferred to move to drier places and took the status of the capital with them.
For many years Kakhaba was a hub for cotton transportation. During the American Civil War, the Confederates built a prison here, where thousands of Northern Union soldiers were held between 1863 and 1865 until another devastating flood came. Top 1900s, most of the city’s buildings were destroyed.
Coordinates: 32.320503, -87.104641
“Live fast, die young” – in the case of the city of Rhyolite, Nevada, this principle is more true than ever: founded in 1904 on the wave of the gold rush, 12 years later it has already turned into a ghost town , although during this time he managed to visit the third largest city in the state.
During the short time of Rhyolite’s existence, hotels, a hospital, an opera house, and their own stock exchange were built here. The local red light district was known outside the state, ladies even from San Francisco were employed here.
The city has been uninhabited for 100 years, but it can be seen in a number of westerns, notably Airmail, a 1925 silent black-and-white adventure melodrama. Rhyolite was one of the filming locations for Michael Bay’s 2005 sci-fi film The Island. The city is also famous for its bottle houses, whose walls are built entirely of glass bottles held together with mortar.
Coordinates: 36.904650, -116.828117
Virginia City, Montana
Old gold mining town (founded in 1863), home of Jane Trouble, a famous character in American stories about the Wild West, a participant in the Indian Wars. Virginia City had a bad reputation, there was neither law enforcement nor a judicial system in the city, as a result, murders and robberies did not surprise anyone here, gangs were active on the roads, and at least 100 people were killed in Virginia City alone in 1863-1864 .
For a time, the city was the capital of the Montana Territory (before Montana became a state), with a population of about ten thousand. About half of the buildings from that time have been preserved and restored, and now Virginia City is a popular tourist destination, an open-air museum of the Wild West.
Coordinates: 45.293948, -111.944871
Named after the red semi-precious stone (garnet) found here along with gold by local prospectors, Garnet prospered from the 1860s until 1912, when a good half of the city was destroyed by fire. Since there were not many gold reserves left by that time, there was no particular need to restore the city. In its heyday, this isolated place had 13 bars, two barbershops, four hotels, an infirmary, a school, and a daily stagecoach to nearby towns.
More than 30 buildings of that era have survived to this day: a dozen houses, a shop, a bar, partly a hotel. Their interiors are practically untouched, utensils, furniture, clothes have been preserved.
Coordinates: 46.826101, -113.338103
Elk Falls, Kansas
Billed as the largest ghost town in the world, with about 100 people still living here. Elk Falls isn’t technically abandoned, but it’s close enough to being on this list.
The city was founded in 1870, in the best of times there were two shops, a dental office, a first-aid post, a school with 200 students. Then Elk Falls lost for the right to become the capital of the district and began to gradually fade away, by the 1920s there were practically no permanent residents left. Now Elk Falls boasts the title of “toilet capital of the world”, they even organize tours of village toilets here.
Coordinates: 37.367419, -96.188017
Batstow Village, NJ
Named after the Swedish word batstu (bathhouse, sauna), Batstow Village was once a bustling ironworks center serving the Continental Army during the American Civil War.
Today, about 40 buildings remain from the city founded back in 1766, including the residence of industrialists, a sawmill, a smithy, an ice store, a dairy, a carriage house, stables and a department store. You can send a postcard from the post office – it is open and working. The buildings are completely restored and maintained as a historical landmark. There is a museum and a tourist information center.
Coordinates: 39.643774, -74.648409
In the late 1800s, Centralia was a prosperous coal mining center with a population of about 2,700. Technically, Centralia is still not a ghost town: according to 2017 data, “less than five” residents live here. Their presence is offset by a creepy atmosphere – an abandoned coal mine caught fire in 1962 and has been smoldering underground ever since. The burning is expected to continue for another 250 years.
Coordinates: 40.804320, -76.340597
A relic town on the legendary Route 66, Glenrio sits right on the border of Texas and New Mexico and is officially located in two states at once. At one time, this came in very handy: the city’s gas stations were built on the Texas side, where the gas tax was lower, and the bars were located on the New Mexico side, since the sale of alcohol in Texas’ Def Smith County was prohibited at that time.
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The life of the town was short: in 1903 it was founded and became a popular transit point for travelers. However, by the 1950s, when the more modern I-40 was built, motorists stopped passing through Glenrio, and the city quickly fell into disrepair. Rumor has it that this story formed the basis of the animated film “Cars” by Pixar. At least the city’s Glenrio Motel appears in Cars as a racing museum.
Coordinates: 35.178454, -103.042941
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Top 18 US Ghost Towns | Travel
There are many ghost towns in our world. They are especially found in developed countries, where at the peak of their development, such cities (and settlements) were the center of financial and cultural life. For example, in the USA there are also enough such cities to make a Top 18 rating out of them. Most of them were mining centers – gold, coal, etc. were mined here. Especially, they began to be built during the period of the “gold rush” and were abandoned due to the depletion of local mines or the rise in the cost of production.
Calico is a ghost town and former mining town in San Bernardino County, California, USA. Located in the Calico Mountains in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, it was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town. Today converted into an old west themed theme park called Calico Park.
On the eastern edge of Death Valley is Rhyolith, a former mining town. Back in 1907, there was a hospital, an opera house and even a stock exchange. The area seemed so promising that even Charles M. invested and bought one of the mines. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for thousands of people: financial crises, natural disasters, and loss of funding forced almost every resident to leave the place by 1920 year.
Before the founding of the city, this place was called Goldfield, they were looking for gold here. Later in 1921, it was settled and renamed Jungsberg, but was abandoned again in 1926. In 1988, from several other ghost towns, it became a local tourist attraction.
Formerly a forest town, St. Elm was once a bustling mountain center with a population of 2,000. By 1930, only seven people lived there, including a family that ran a general store and hotel. Now, being privately owned and maintained, visitors can still feel the presence of the spirits of that era.
Terlingua is one of the famous Texas attractions, a ghost town covered in legends and notoriety. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was a living working community built near the mines from which 40% of the total mercury used in the United States was lifted. In the best period, the population of Terlingua reached three thousand people. However, over time, mercury reserves decreased, the incomes of workers decreased, which led to an outflow of residents – around 1940, almost no one was left in the village.
The city is currently owned by the state of Montana and has a population of just 120 people. At the same time, the ghost does not have to stand in splendid isolation in the middle of deserted hills and forests. Literally 2 km from here lives his twin brother named Nevada City, whose buildings and household items attract no less attention among visitors. True, unlike the buildings of Virginia City, the buildings of modern Nevada City were originally located in other places. Here they were transported to create the entourage of another city during the gold rush.
The ghost town of Bodie is located in the western United States, in California’s Mono County, east of San Francisco, near the Nevada border. Its history began in 1959, when William S. Body discovered a gold mine in the area of Mono Lake and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. According to legend, Bodie died during a snowstorm, and members of his family founded a settlement and named it after the gold digger.
Kakhaba’s history is typical of ghost towns. From 1820 to 1825, it was even the capital of Alabama, but after several serious floods, the inhabitants preferred to move to drier places and took the status of the capital with them.
For many years Kakhaba was a hub for cotton transport. During the American Civil War, the Confederates built a prison here, where thousands of Northern Union soldiers were held between 1863 and 1865 until another devastating flood came. By the early 1900s, most of the city’s buildings were destroyed.
Seven and a half decades of desert ghost town, the abandoned mining community of Kennecott, once the center of the copper industry in Alaska. Today, only the wind is walking here and the old buildings are gradually decaying and collapsing.
It all started in the early 20th century when an engineer named Stephen Birch paid $275,000 to purchase the mine and its vast natural resources.
Over the next 20 years, investment has led to the emergence of a mining center in the region with valuable copper. The last loading of a batch of copper ore was carried out on railroad cars in Kennecott on November 10, 1938. The next day, the closure of the mines was announced and the city was gradually abandoned by the inhabitants.
This abandoned former mining town in Montana is so riddled with paranormal activity that it was featured in an episode of Travel Channel Adventures. Founded in 1862 when John White discovered gold at the Grasshopper gold mine, Bannack was a typical Old West gold rush town.
No one lives in the settlement, but it has been preserved as a historical monument. The settlement itself was founded several decades ago, and this significant event took place thanks to gold. It was the yellow metal that caused the construction of Bannack. The fact is that a nugget was found in this area, after which the gold diggers decided to firmly settle in these parts.
South Pass City was founded in 1867 when the Carissa gold mine was discovered in the area.
Atlantic City and Miners Delight were founded at the same time.
Due to the gold diggers, the population of the city quickly grew to 1000 people. In 1869, at the suggestion of South Pass City Representative William Bright, the Wyoming Territory Legislature introduced women’s suffrage. Also in 1869, Esther Hobart Morris came to town and was appointed Justice of the Peace the following year, thus becoming the first female judge in the United States.
After the end of the gold rush, the population began to decrease, and in 1872 only a few hundred people remained in the city. The city experienced a short revival during the Great Depression. The Carissa field was closed in the 1950s. The area is now a National Historic Landmark.
The small mining town of Centralia is located in the US state of Pennsylvania, and it can rightfully claim the title of a ghost town in the best traditions of horror films.
Centralia or Centralia is a town located in Pennsylvania, USA.
The history of this ghost town is similar to the horror movie Silent Hill – only less creepy details. Where once upon a time there was a life, now there is only a church and a few houses. In the middle of the thicket is a charred, burnt clearing. Here, in the heart of the Pennsylvania coalfield, once upon a time stood the mining town of Centralia. Its inhabitants in the 62nd year, trying to eliminate the garbage heap near the cemetery, set fire to garbage in an abandoned mine. But it was the same as sitting on a gas stove and turning on the gas. The coal underground ignited and has been burning for forty-six years!
In 2010, there were five official residents of Thurmond. Once a thriving city, it has now been taken over by the National Park Service, which sees to it that Thurmond remains intact, bearing witness to how people lived in Appalachia in the 1920s. Unlike the now abandoned mining towns, Thurmond was a railroad town. It grew up around the station, opened in 1888, and until the beginning of the 20th century, it could only be reached by train.
In those days, there was a famous resort in the vicinity of the city; in addition, it went down in history as the venue for the longest poker game in the world, lasting 14 years. The city began to decline in 1930, when a resort hotel burned down and residents began to leave. By 1950, Thurmond was completely empty.
Source: https://fishki.net/2095581-goroda-prizraki-amerikanskaja-istorija-uzhasov.html © Fishki.net
Source: https://fishki.net/2095581-goroda-prisraki-amerikanskaja-istorija- uzhasov.html © Fishki.net
A ghost town on the famous Route 66 (Route 66), Glenrio stands right on the border of Texas and New Mexico and is officially located in two states at once. At one time, this came in very handy: the city’s gas stations were built on the Texas side, where the gas tax was lower, and the bars were located on the New Mexico side, since the sale of alcohol in Texas’ Def Smith County was prohibited at that time.
After the success of its sugar mill, the Buloville plantation was destroyed on the ground during the Second Seminole War by the Seminole Indian tribe. However, the ruins of the manor, mills and slave quarters still remain. This is a protected area now called the Pools Historic State Park.
Built in 1837, the old Essex County Jail in New Jersey is one of the oldest buildings in the county and is rapidly deteriorating. The building was so dangerous that its inhabitants were forced to leave it overnight, so many confidential documents were left in it. Later, the old prison became home to homeless drug addicts who painted it with graffiti.
The Grossinger Resort in New York City’s Catskills is perhaps most famous for being the inspiration for Dirty Dancing, one of Patrick Swayze’s most famous films.