July 26, 2011 -- The nine residents of Scenic, S.D., say the 12-acre city, including a saloon, post office and two stores, was once a "rough and tumble cowboy town" that now, like much of the country, has hit harder economic times. And today, it can be yours for $799,000.
Twila Merrill, the woman who owns the property and the 34 acres that surround it, has been diagnosed with cancer and, according to daughter, it's time to sell.
"It's bittersweet," said Merrill's daughter Lee Ann Keester. "I have to take care of my mom. Family always comes first… But it's just time, everything comes with time… [My mom] would love to do it until she's 100, but her health won't permit her."
The only two Scenic residents who aren't related to the Merrill family are Leo Stangle and his wife Rosalie. Stangle runs a pest control business in the town and said he moved to Scenic in 1949 when he was an 8-year-old boy and never left the town he says was once an old railroad town
Stangle said he enjoys the secluded nature of the town, calling it "peaceful," but said that it could use some cleaning up.
"There are a lot of rundown buildings, just junk on different lots on things here in town that need to be cleaned up to look like a town," said Stangle.
Keester was born and raised in Scenic and said the new owners will be purchasing a piece of history.
"It's just unique, like going back in time, people drive a long way to see something that's never changed. And it didn't change for tourists, it's just the way it was," said Keester.
Stangle said he isn't concerned with who buys the land.
"I don't care who buys the property… It doesn't make any difference to me who gets it, I'd like to see them do something with it," said Stangle, adding that he would like to see some new businesses appear and improve the town's appearance.
Keester said it's the right time for her mother to give up the land, but the property hasn't seen any serious buyers... yet.
$800K Doesn't Buy Much in New York, San Fran
While $799,000 will buy you an entire town in Scenic, that same price tag won't buy you a town, it won't even get you a house. According to Realtor.com, $799,000 is the price tag for a small two bedroom apartmentother parts of the United States -- no saloon included:
Midtown Manhattan, N.Y.: $799,000 buys you a one bedroom, 1.5 bath, for a total of 1,000 square feet.
San Francisco, Calif.: $799,000 can get you a two bedroom, one bath in the Potrero neighborhood for what is described as a single family home.
Miami, Fla.: $799,000 is enough for 2,020 square foot apartment with two bedrooms, 2.5 baths.
Chicago, Ill.: $799,000 is the price tag on a two bedroom, two bath apartment.
Los Angeles, Calif.: $799,000 buys you a 1,650 square foot condo with two bedrooms and two baths.