Credit: Williams & Williams
Garryowen, Mont. — which is still for sale — has been privately owned since 1926. It is the only town within the perimeter of the Little Bighorn Battlefield and is located in the same area that Native American tribal chief Sitting Bull’s encampment once stood. The town also lies midway between Mount Rushmore National Monument and Yellowstone Park. Pictured above is the town hall.
Most of us have imagined what we would do if we were in charge of our city. Now, it appears you actually can run your own city — if you’ve got the money!
America’s smallest town sold
The Town of Buford, Wyo., (population: 1) was sold in April, 2012, for a mere $900,000. Buford consists of a gas station, a general store, a schoolhouse, a cabin, and a three-bedroom home. The seller, Don Sammons, moved there with his wife and son in 1980 and bought the town in 1992. Sammons ran the Trading Post general store and acted as mayor of the town. His wife passed away a few years later and his son moved to Colorado in 2007, so Sammons decided to sell the 4-hectare town so he could move closer to his son.
Bidding started at $100,000. Bidders from 46 countries participated in the 11-minute online auction, hosted by auction firm Williams & Williams based in Tulsa, Okla. The lucky buyers were two (at the time) unnamed Vietnamese businessmen. It has since been revealed that one of the buyers was Ph?m Ðình Nguyên, the general director of International Distribution Services, based in Ho Chi Minh City. Nguyên says he has no plans for the town yet, but it could potentially become a showroom for Vietnamese goods.
“Wild Bill’s” personal Wild West
Billionaire Bill Koch has an extensive collection of artifacts dating from the Wild West era of the United States. What is one to do with so many artifacts? Well, if you’re a billionaire then you build your very own Wild West town.
The faux Old West town, Bear Ranch, sits on 6,400 acres below the scenic Raggeds Wilderness Area of Gunnison County, Colo. It has around 50 buildings including a saloon, a jail, and, allegedly, an operating train station. It even features its own water treatment system. No one lives in this town, which has a locked gate with guards, and Koch does not plan to open it to the public.
“Custer’s Last Stand” site up for grabs
The historic Town of Garryowen, Mont., (population: 2) is located on the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn approximately 60 miles southeast of Billings, Mont. It includes a three-level town hall with convenience store, sandwich shop, retail space, post office, and penthouse residence. The 7.7-acre site also features a second building with office space and guest suites, a fueling station, and picnic grounds.
Garryowen was set to be auctioned in August 2012 by the same firm that sold Buford. According to Williams & Williams, the owner is selling the town for health and personal reasons. Unfortunately, the auction was canceled due to a lack of bidders. As of now, there are no plans for another auction and the firm will “handle this just like a traditional real estate transaction.” That means you still have a chance to buy it!
— Kelley Lindsey