Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Only $800,000 for real wild west town... including saloon and jails

For $800,000, all your cowboy fantasies can come true. No, not those ones....

Debate rages over whether the Scenic saloon owners painted over a "No" preceding "Indians Allowed". Picture supplied
1 of 2
  • Owner bought houses one by one
  • Includes post office, two jails, saloon
  • Home to eight residents
FORGET about owning a house, or even a block. In the US, you can buy the town, run the jail and only let your friends in the saloon.
Yep, for a cool $799,000 you could be the new owner of Scenic, a humble town an hour’s drive from Rapid City in South Dakota.
American businesswoman Twila Merril acquired the properties in Scenic one by one as they went on sale, and now owns 18ha of land.
This includes a post office, convenience store, dance hall, two retail stores, a train depot, saloon, museum, two houses and two jails.
Scenic with Cap
One of two jailhouses. There's also open air cages in a side street. Picture supplied
For a start, it's located near the South Dakota Badlands. The nearest town is Wounded Knee, 80km to the south and in the 1800s, a fur trading post was set up nearby on the Cheyenne River. 
But before you get excited, perhaps it's best to first look at where "an hour's drive from Rapid City" places you:
Scenic with Cap
God, it's a barren, featureless desert out there, isn't it? Picture supplied
Ms Merril’s daughter, LeeAnn Keester says although her family has loved Scenic, her mother has been forced to sell the property due to her ailing health.

“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,” Ms Keester told the Rapid City journal.

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

The town in the Wild West is on the verge of becoming a ghost town, with as little as 700 cars passing through daily and few stopping.
Scenic Town
Eight people still live and work in Scenic. You can't buy them. Picture: Sirrobot/Flickr
The real estate listing claims "tons" of artists and journalists stop in the town for stories of "cowboy history, Indian history, fossils agates and gunfights".
One of the eight remaining residents of Scenic, Leo Stangle - also the owner of the excellently named pest control business Gopher Choker - said the town used to be a stopping point alongside the railroad for cowboys.
The Depression in the 1930s sparked a downward spiral that the township haven’t been able to recover from.

 “Farmers had big families to feed, and there just wasn’t enough employment for everyone (during the Depression)," he said.
"Gradually, people started to leave, and then the businesses in town suffered and also started shutting down.
"People had no choice but to move out."

Read more on the sale of Scenic here.

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