April 4, 2012
Thought owning a private island or beach would be cool? How about an entire town? With many small towns struggling to avoid bankruptcy and attract residents in today’s distressed housing market, a few are looking to unload their zip codes onto someone else.
Tomorrow, April 5, at noon MT, the town of Buford, Wyoming off highway I-80 will be auctioned off through the Oklahoma-based auction house Williams & Williams, with bids starting at $100,000. True, the town is tiny. It has a population of one – a 61-year-old man named Don Sammons, who has lived in Buford for over 30 years and bought the town in 1992. It’s also flat and windy, has the highest elevation – 8,000 feet – of any community on I-80, and temperatures can get well below freezing.
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But Buford includes a post office, gas station, trading post, a cellular tower, five whole buildings, and Summons is even throwing in a plow. You’d also get your own zip code (82052), and can name the streets whatever you want. How’s that for bragging rights?
Buford isn’t the only town up for sale at the moment. For bigger spenders, the town of Pray, Montana, was listed last month for $1.4 million by the town’s mayor and owner Barbara Walker, and has eight residents, 12 dogs, a trailer park and a post office. “I’m the sheriff and the garbage control and the animal control officer,” Walker told The Daily. And now, it could all be yours.
UPDATE Thursday, April 5, 3:00 p.m.: After a frenzied 15 minutes at the Buford Trading Post convenience store today, the town of Buford, Wyoming sold to an unnamed buyer for $900,000 –nine times the beginning bid. Buford’s current owner and only resident Don Sammons has up to a week to decide if he’ll accept the bid. It looks like buying a piece of America comes with a heftier price tag than many expected.