Many once-bustling towns have sat deserted and deteriorating for decades, creating thousands of ghost towns across the U.S. Some were mining or railroad towns that stopped serving a purpose when the mines were no longer profitable and other forms of transportation became available. Others were wiped out by disease or the elements, prompting remaining residents to pack up and move elsewhere. But no matter the cause, you can find some of these ghost towns for sale.
If you have ever dreamed of being the proprietor of an entire village, renovating a previously thriving Old West locale to its former glory or perhaps turning an abandoned community into the coolest Airbnb ever, you might want to check out some current ghost towns for sale. You may be surprised by the many options available.
7 Ghost Towns For Sale Right Now
You might not call it an actual ghost town because it does have inhabitants. Still, the town of Nipton, in California’s San Bernardino County, an hour away from Las Vegas, only has about 25 residents and is currently up for sale. Priced at $3,125,000, the 80 acres includes the Nipton Trading Post, a restaurant and bar, a five-room hotel, a general store, a trailer park, a schoolhouse and more.
Originally called Nippeno Camp, the railroad town was founded in 1905 and was renamed five years later. In 2017, cannabis technology company American Green, Inc. bought Nipton for $5 million to develop a cannabis consumption destination, then sold it to its new subsidiary, CannAwake. After the purchase, it said it intended to invest heavily in Nipton.
Established in 1864 as Turkey Creek, this mining town was bought by a man named James Cleator in 1925. As mining declined and the railroad left, the town dipped to about 60 residents. Cleator’s son kept the small bar, ironically named The Cleator Bar & Yacht Club, until he died in 1996. Since then, it has primarily been a tourist attraction with fewer than 10 permanent residents.
The 39.9-acre lot that makes up the town is currently for sale with a price tag of $999,999, which includes the bar, general store and a few other original structures, as well as naming and mining rights.
The Villa de la Mina, Terlingua, Texas
Near Big Bend in West Texas, this ghost town was built in the early 1900s during a silver mining boom. It was constructed entirely using local rock and handmade bricks from crushed rock on site, creating fortress walls built to withstand a battalion.
The $1.75 million property includes 20 standing buildings, a pool, a water holding tank and the largest mine in the area with a railroad track leading into it. The village buildings include stables, a jail, an eight-room hotel and more on 62 acres.
Originally called Robinsons Ferry, the 83-acre town 30 miles inland from Highway 101 in California’s Redwood Coast was renamed Bridgeville in 1875 when a bridge was built across the Van Duzen River. Over the years, it has had a number of owners.
Bridgeville made news back in 2002 for being the first town sold on eBay. In 2006, the town was put up for sale again after its owner couldn’t make necessary improvements and purchased by Daniel La Paille, who did some work on it before he died later that year. His family couldn’t keep up the momentum and put the town on sale again in 2007; as of 2016, they still owned the town and were still trying to unload it.
Henry River Mill Village, North Carolina
Just west of Catawba County, North Carolina, Henry River Mill Village was founded as a booming textile mill town in 1905. As time went on, the population dwindled. The mill shut down a few years before its main building burned down in 1977, and the last residents had reportedly left by the late 1990s or early 2000s.
But if the village seems familiar, it’s with good reason as it served as the home of the main characters — including Gale, Prim, Peeta, and Katniss — from the original “The Hunger Games” film, as mentioned in this Twitter post.
— Jeff Taylor (@jefftaylorhuman) August 20, 2020
Gabriella, New Mexico
OK, so maybe this one is cheating, but it sure looks like a ghost town. Just outside of Datil, New Mexico, Gabriella (about 2.5 hours southwest of Albuquerque) is a charming replica of an Old West settlement from the 1880s set on 58 acres.
The current owner built the town from the ground up with hopes of creating a movie studio, and it has been the backdrop for numerous productions, events and shoots. But the 24 buildings included in the price are more than just props. The barbershop has an antique barber chair and furnishings, the hotel is fully functional and even the stagecoach is included for the $1.6 million asking price.
In the 1880s, a man named George Millican established a ranch 25 miles east of Bend, Oregon. By 1913, Millican was officially a town, although the population never grew above 100 people. When the post office closed in 1942, the postmaster was the only remaining citizen.
After World War II, a businessman named Bill Mellin bought the remaining businesses and ran them for 40 years. In 1988, Mellin, whose wife and children were no longer living, was murdered by his only employee. The town has cycled through several owners since then.
In 2017, the town and surrounding 74-plus acres were listed at $1,499,000. Although it is currently listed as “off the market,” it seems as though a buyer was never found. So, if you are interested, you might be able to strike a deal on this ghost town for sale.
Buying A Ghost Town
It’s important to note that purchasing a ghost town is not as simple as getting a mortgage and making payments. Utah real estate broker Mike Metzger told Money Tips that it’s exceedingly difficult to find funding for this type of real estate.
“Most times, it’s going to be a private sort of banking, with loans based on the individual and the relationships they have with the bank, versus your traditional ‘square box financing,'” Metzger said. “Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and FHA are not touching these properties.”
But if you’ve got the cash (or maybe a wealthy uncle you could hit up, or a group of investors to rely on), you could buy your own ghost town. If not, it’s still fun to dream.