Want to Buy a California Ghost Town?

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The boom and bust mining cycles of the 19th and early 20th centuries led to the construction and abandonment of literally hundreds of U.S. towns and villages. Many were located in the arid West where the dry air has helped preserve the forsaken buildings.

If you’ve always wanted to rule over your own town, there are more opportunities than you might think. Most of the towns are owned by a state or local government, but some are owned by individuals and families. Prices vary widely as well.

Real estate listing and research firm Realtor.com’s most viewed listing last week was a ghost town located in the Inyo Mountains of southern California, not far from Los Angeles. And as these things go, it’s not terribly expensive. It is, however, remote and not easy to get to. Even Google Maps can’t seem to locate it.

The town of Cerro Gordo sits on about 317 acres of land at an elevation of around 8,000 feet and is accessible only by an steep (and probably very bumpy) 8-mile track. The town was the first major mining camp south of the Sierra Nevada and is located in the Owens Valley near Lone Pine, California.

According to listing agent Jake Rasmuson, Cerro Gordo is in pretty good shape:

The site has been extremely well protected from diggers. artifact looters and Mother Nature herself. Restoration has been undertaken on most of the buildings. and the rest are in a state of protected arrested decay. … The town was the silver thread to Los Angeles, being partially responsible for its growth and economic development.

According to the listing the town has “nearly” 22 buildings comprising a total of about 24,000 square feet. Cerro Gordo has been privately held by the same family for decades.

The listing price is $925,000.