|Town Where Custer Fell for Sale|
|By SUSANNA KIM (@skimm)||Aug 10, 2012, 11:11 AM|
A small town in Montana where part of Sitting Bull and his Sioux army camped in 1876 before Lt. Col. George Custer fell will be auctioned this month.
Garryowen, a 7.7 acre town in southeastern Montana, will be auctioned on Aug. 15 by auction house Williams, Williams and McKissick with a starting bid of $250,000.
For entrepreneurial real estate buyers, here are 12 towns that have been for sale, including the historic town.
Chris Kortlander, owner of Garryowen near the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, first announced plans in January 2008 to sell the town and the Elizabeth Bacon Custer Manuscript Archive for $6.5 million.
Reuters reported concerns about Kortlander's health has led him to auction the property and the manuscript collection of the paper's of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's wife, Elizabeth Bacon Custer.
Around the property, Sioux and Cheyenne Indians defeated five companies of the 7th Cavalry under Custer.
The town was named after the Irish song Custer adopted for the 7th Cavalry.
Garryowen has a trading post, museum, office complex, bed and breakfast, post office, gas station, restaurant and a 4,000-square-foot residence, according to the Associated Press.
Kortlander had been in a protracted legal battle with the government which has raided his memorabilia for alleged dealings in fraudulent artifacts. No charges were filed and the government dropped its investigation in 2009.
Located 22 miles from Livingston, Mont. and 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park, the town of Pray was scheduled to be auctioned on June 27, 2012, but the property failed to sell because the auction did not meet the seller's reserve. The minimum starting bid was $100,000.
Sitting on five acres, the town is named after the congressman Charles M. Pray, who helped officially incorporate the town, which has been privately owned since it was founded in 1909. The current owner and mayor since 2007, Barbara Walker, is a professional photographer whose business has become more mobile, reported the Aspen Business Journal.
Mason and Morse Ranch Company, which previously had the listing, is no longer marketing the property for sale.
Henry River Mill Village, N.C., was on sale for $1.4 million after being used as the set of the downtrodden community of District 12 in the film "The Hunger Games." The home failed to find a buyer when it was featured on Hollywood Treasure, the Syfy channel show, according to the Hickory Daily Record.
The owner, Wade Shepherd, 83, said he is still selling the 72-acre property with 22 buildings. The mill burned down in 1977, but no matter to die-hard fans of the book by Suzanne Collins and the film, which topped the box office for three straight weeks.
"Day and night, they're driving through, taking pictures, getting out and walking," Shepherd told the Associated Press about the film's fans. "I'm just bombarded with people."
"If you have anyone with a briefcase of money, send them my way," Shepherd previously told ABC News.
The village is about 70 miles east of Asheville and south of the town of Hildebran and Interstate 40.
On sale for $2.5 million, the town of Toomsboro, Ga. is about halfway between Atlanta and Savannah.
David Bumgardner, a developer in south Georgia, is trying to sell 28 properties in the town, which has 700 residents. Bumgardner purchased over 50 acres from preservationist Bill Lucado and through an auction about a decade ago, the Associated Press reported.
About 119 miles southwest of Atlanta and 137 miles northeast of Savannah, Toomsboro may be ideal for a movie production company that needs a set, Lucado told the AP. Lucado said he is now working for Bumgardner to help sell the properties.
Lucado calls it an "almost complete town from the early 19th century" in "amazing" condition.
The town has an old opera house that seats 500 people, a barber shop, and a hotel with 18 bedrooms and baths built in the 1880s. Lucado said it is in "immaculate, A-1 condition," with over $1 million in restoration work. The town also has an old bank with brass teller cages that is "off the charts."
The town also includes an operating grist mill, syrup mill, cotton warehouse, railroad station and about a dozen houses.
The French village of Courbefy, 280 miles southwest of Paris, was up for auction in February for an asking price of $400,000, or 300,000 euro, but no one bid. But an American buyer bought the property for about $649,594, (520,000 euro), from the French Bank Credit Agricole.
Ahae, a South Korean-born photographer based in New York, purchased the property in an auction on May 21, the Guardian reported. Ahae, who did not disclose his plans for the property, did not immediately return a request for comment.
His photography exhibition opens at the Louvre Museum in Paris on Wednesday.
Credit Agricole previously held the mortgage to this French hamlet after its owners, who had run a luxury hotel and restaurant, stopped making payments and abandoned it around 2008. The property has a tennis court, horse stable, more than a dozen buildings and a swimming pool. The village's 12th century chapel, however, is not for sale.
Called "the nation's smallest town" at about 10 acres, Buford, Wyo. was auctioned on April 5 for $900,000. Don Sammons, Buford's only resident, sold the town through Williams and Williams, an auction company.
Bidding for Buford, 28 miles west of Cheyenne and just north of the border with Colorado, began at $100,000. Included in the sale were the Buford Trading Post, which is a convenience store and gas station, U.S. post office boxes, a cellular tower with lease, five buildings and about 10 acres of land.
Reported to be the second-oldest town in Wyoming, Buford was built in 1866 for workers building a railroad but the population, once 2,000, plummeted when the railroad bypassed the town, Williams and Williams reported.
The Sammons family moved from Los Angeles to Buford in 1980 after Don Sammons bought the town's trading post in 1992, the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reported.
Set between Seattle and Spokane, the small mountain town of Monse, Wash., was on sale for $575,000 in 2003. The town had an old schoolhouse, seven houses, a general store and a post office. But even with views of the Okanogan River and several serious offers, it remained unsold for years until the town's owners split up the 60 acres of land it into parcels.
Donna and Fritz Van Doren decided to sell the land when they moved out of Monse, according to the Associated Press. One family bought six acres of land in 2006 "for peace and quiet and to get out of the rat race."
The 46 acres around Scenic, S.D., were on sale for two years with an asking price of $3 million until the price dropped to $799,000 in July 2011. The owner, rodeo legend Twila Merrill, had bought the land slowly over several decades but she and her family decided to sell because of her declining health.
In August, the Iglesia ni Cristo church, established in the Philippines in 1914, bought the 12-acre town and surrounding land, but the group has not made its plans known.
David Olsen, the Coldwell Banker real estate selling agent in Rapid City for Merrill, said there is someone from the church living in the town and making basic repairs. Though he said there has not been much activity in Scenic in the summer.
There's still a post office in the town, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service. No decision has been made if it will close; there is a moratorium on office closings until May 15.
Founded in 1859, The Grove was a farming community until it became a ghost town after a highway was re-routed away from it in the 1930s because some residents wanted less traffic. An antique collector, Moody Anderson, bought the old buildings in 1972 and opened the Country Life Museum there. Anderson attracted tourists but failed to attract eBay bidders in 2008. Instead, he held a sale through the Burley Auction Group and a woman from San Jose, Calif., whose grandfather formerly owned the town's general store, bought it for $200,000, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
It may not be an entire town, but the Orlando Sentinel reported in October 2008, that downtown Eustis, Fla., was on sale for $7.8 million on eBay in October 2008.
The Lake Community Foundation listed the 11-acre property in the lakefront city. There were no serious offers. The foundation received the property in 2003 after the previous owner, a hospital, moved to a neighboring town. Soon, the collapse of the real estate market led to difficulties in developing the land.
Virginia Barker, executive director of the charitable foundation, told ABC News four city blocks are still for sale, three of which cost around $1 million each.
In June 2007, half of the ghost town of Rocky Bar, Idaho, sold for $250,000. The buyer was Michael Ciluaga, a construction company owner from Boise. He got 8.9 acres of land, a hotel, mine, wading pool, town jail plus timber and mineral rights, the Associated Press reported.
Ciluaga told the AP he wants to restore the old buildings, which date back to the 19th century, with the help of preservationists.
"I'm a third-generation Boisean," Ciluaga said. "When I read the story about it being for sale, I knew immediately that I wanted it."
An unnamed buyer bought Palisade, Nev., in an auction for $150,000 in 2005. The 160-acre town was once a railroad connection for nearby mines and included a cemetery, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Located halfway between Reno and Salt Lake City, the town is 135 years old. The town emptied out after activity at the nearby mines ceased.
The Chronicle said the biggest event that may have happened in the town was, according to local legend, the possible attempted assassination of President Herbert Hoover in 1932. The local Gazette paper reported that as Hoover was making his way to Palo Alto, Calif.: "On the way, three miles west of Palisade, Nevada, a watchman found 22 sticks of dynamite near the trestle the train would pass over a few minutes before Hoover's arrival. Two men skirmished with the watchman and fled, and the plot to kill the president was foiled."