The Upshot

Own your own town for $800k

The Upshot

Had it with life in the big city? The traffic, crowds, and high rent got you down? Then may we suggest you consider investing in the town of Scenic, South Dakota? And by "invest" we mean "buy the whole darn town for $800,000."

That's right. The small town, which admittedly has seen better days, can be yours for just a bit more than an average home in San Francisco. So, what exactly do you get for your $800k? Quite a lot, actually. You'll get a dance hall, a saloon, two jails, a train depot, two stores, and some more empty buildings.

According to ABC News, the town is for sale because the current owner, Twila Merrill, has been diagnosed with cancer. Merrill's daughter, Lee Ann Keester, remarked, "I have to take care of my mom. Family always comes first... But it's just time, everything comes with time... [My mom] would love to do it until she's 100, but her health won't permit her."

True, the town won't be mistaken for New York or even Green Acres. However, based on the pictures, it does have a certain Old West charm. One can almost picture John Wayne ambling down the street. It does look like a ghost town--and with fewer than 10 residents, it's mighty close to becoming one.

This isn't the first time an entire town has gone up for sale. Some may remember actress Kim Basinger's ill-fated purchase of Braselton, Georgia for $20 million. Basinger planned to turn the town into a tourist draw, complete with film festival. But things didn't quite work out as she planned. She was later forced to sell the town at a huge loss due to financial problems of her own.

And Basinger isn't alone. As an article from MSN points out, many have purchased towns only to see that the dream of "owning their own zip code" turn into a nightmare. It's one thing to be a landlord and have to fix a renter's leaky faucet. It's another to be responsible for an entire town of faucets (and toilets, and electricity, and crime prevention, and, and, and...)

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