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Calling All Cult Leaders: Entire Connecticut Town is For Sale

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Hear ye hear ye, all aspiring community leaders and rich people with too much time on their hands: an entire ghost town in Connecticut, complete with eight historic (derelict) buildings, is now being auctioned off starting at $800K. The story of Johnsonville—a 19th-century mill community that has been vacant since at least the 1990s—is a bizarre one. Dating back to the 1830s, Johnsonville was once the epicenter of Connecticut's twine industry. There are a number of beautiful edifices from that era, including an 1846 homestead, an 1845 general store, and a circa-1900 restaurant. After a long period of decline, the entire hamlet was purchased by the eccentric aerospace millionaire Ray Schmitt in 1960. In an effort to turn the town into a theme park (and perhaps to make it look even cuter and older), Schmitt bought and transplanted several 19th-century buildings, like a Victorian stable and chapel from Massachusetts, into town.

Anyway, the theme park was unsuccessful but also unlucky: the quaint old Neptune Mill was struck by lightning and burned down in 1972, and then in 1994 Schmitt got into a dispute with local officials and shuttered the attraction. Schmitt died in 1998, and Johnsonville has been a ghost town ever since. A hotel developer bought it in 2008, and after years of doing nothing with the 64-acre property, the developer listed it for $2.9M last year. It's received no bites, however, so now it's all headed to auction on October 28. The starting bid is $800,000, and hedge-funders and future cult leader need only provide a $10,000 deposit and show proof of funds to own this historic ghost town.


· Village of Johnsonville [Auction.com]
· Connecticut ghost town goes up for auction from $800,000 [Los Angeles Times]
· All Ghost Towns posts [Curbed National]
· All Abandonment Issues posts [Curbed National]