Buy an Entire Town for Less Than $1 Million

A South Dakota Ghost Town in Need of Reviving

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  • scenic, SD
    (Photo: Dolores Steele)
    Main Street in Scenic, S.D. The entire town, population 9, is on the market for $799,000.
  • scenic, SD
    (Photo: Dolores Steele)
    Main Street in Scenic, S.D. The entire town, population 9, is on the market for $799,000.
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By R. Leigh Coleman, Christian Post Reporter
July 27, 2011|7:09 pm

If you don’t mind an old saloon and two empty jails then this historic ghost town in South Dakota is for you.

For sale: The majority of the land within the Township of Scenic, South Dakota, totaling about 46 acres. Over the years, since 1906, it has been a thriving town mostly of visitors for the convenience of fuel, groceries, hunting, fossil hunting and the world famous Longhorn Saloon.

And the price? $799,000.

Population: 9.

The nearest town might be 50-miles away, but reporters, television crews, and millionaires are making plans to visit this small town located on the edge of the remote Badlands.

Rodeo legend from the early 1950s Twila Merrill put the town on the market about two months ago for the current price due to an illness.

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The original asking price for the property was $3 million, but the price dropped after being on the market for two years.

Merrill told her real estate broker that she hopes someone will come to the rescue and save the town from desolation.

Scenic was surprisingly a thriving railroad town in the early 20th century.

Local newspapers report that the small town once had a functioning bank, grocery stores, a church, a high school and even a hotel in its early days.

Families moved away during the Great Depression and the small town never quite recovered.

Merrill and her daughter, LeeAnn Keester, still believe their little ghost town has potential.

“The businesses and land has always been family-run, but now, it’s time for someone else to come in and bring it back to life,” Keester told the Rapid City Journal.

“It’s just me and my mom now, and now, with her health being what it is, it’s just too much for us.”

According to real estate broker David T. Olsen Scenic is beautiful – just like its namesake.

Included in the asking price of just under $1 million is a U.S. Post Office land lease, the Longhorn Fuel and Food Convenience Store, the 1906 Longhorn Saloon, a museum, two houses, and two jails.

"It has so much history and was once a great little rally town,” Olsen said.

“It’s really a bargain price, and it has a lot to offer,” he said. “Keep in mind the price of Scenic is nearly comparable to one of Valle Piola, Italy, a whole Abruzzan village that's also on the market. How do the Badlands stack up next to the Italian hillside? Decisions, decisions!”

About 700 cars a day pass near the small town, which are mostly on their way to the Badlands National Park or the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 6 miles away.

Olsen, who is a Coldwell Banker agent, said he hopes the new owner will preserve the buildings as relics of the Old West.

Keester told the local newspaper that her mother loved Scenic and purchased the properties one by one as they were put up for sale.

The family kept many animals including one two-year-old bull named Freckles, who can still be spotted roaming around town.

For the real estate listing visit here.

 

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