Interested in buying some land? Well why not go the whole hog and buy an entire town instead?
The quiet town of Scenic, South Dakota, has just been put on the market for a bargain-basement price of just $799,000 – that’s right, the entire town!
Reduced from the initial asking price of $3.5 million, interested buyers are looking at an area encompassing 46 acres in all, and with it an historic train station, a post office, a “large” dance hall, a “working jail” and an “abandoned jail”, a convenience store, a museum, a gas station and two residences! Sounds unbelievable right?
But it couldn’t be truer – the town’s current owner, Twila Merril, has decided to give up the small community due to her advancing age and health problems.
The 74-year old’s daughter LeeAnn Keester explained that:
"The businesses and land has always been family-run, but now it’s time for someone else to come in and bring it back to life. It’s just me and my mom now, and now, with her health being what it is, it’s just too much for us."
Merril began taking over Scenic back in 1963, when she snapped up the town’s Longhorn Saloon at the behest of her late father, then continued adding properties until she owned the entire lot – with her family also taking over to the extent that now, only two of its eight residents are not related to the Merrils – Leo and Rosalie Stangle.
Leo, rather surprisingly, has managed to keep a pest control firm running in the town all these years, having moved to Scenic when he was just 8 years old, in 1949. He loves the town’s secluded nature, he says, though he admits it could do with a clean up:
"There are a lot of rundown buildings, just junk that needs to be cleaned up so Scenic looks like a town again,"
Scenic began life in the early 1900’s, originally a railroad town which saw its glory days back in the 1920’s. At that time, says Stangle, the town boasted of a grocery store, a church, a hotel, a school and a bank.
Those are all long gone by now of course, but before you go waving your hands in dismissal, there does remain some potential in the town. Just 50 miles away from Rapid City, population 62,000, Scenic is conveniently located just a few minutes’ drive from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the nearby Badlands National Park. Visitors to these places need to take the road through Scenic, which means that around 700 cars pass through it each day, according to David T. Olsen who is listing the town.
Sadly though, whoever does snap up Scenic won’t get to be the town mayor, as the town is not incorporated. But still, it would be pretty cool to pretend.