Over the last few months we have covered a variety of celebrity property sales, redevelopments but we have yet to cover the sale of an entire Victorian ghost town in the USA! The Connecticut ghost town of Johnsonville is now up for sale with an asking price of $1.9 million and a history and story which befits that value. This is not your stereotypical gold rush town which was left abandoned but more of a model town which has fallen into disrepair.
Former mill town
Jacksonville is situated along the banks of the Connecticut River and while it has not been inhabited for at least 20 years, it still boasts a post office, church, bank and an array of Victorian style buildings. The town was founded back in 1802 and while it was once a flourishing mill town more recently it was the “plaything” of a wealthy eccentric industrialist by the name of Raymond Schmitt. When we say plaything, perhaps we are being a little unfair as Raymond Schmitt extended the town by buying an array of different properties from out of town!
A three story barn came from Vermont, the town meeting hall and general store came from Connecticut. These are just a small selection of properties which were acquired, dismantled, transported to Johnsonville and literally rebuilt in their original format. Unfortunately these newer buildings highlight the disrepair of some of the older buildings which have been there for many years. Indeed the Neptune Twine and Cord Mill Factory was one of the focal points of the town back in the 1800s but burned to the ground in 1972. Even to this day the former home of Emory Johnson, the founder of the mill, sits next to where the factory used to be.
TV and video appearances
As you might have guessed, an old style town with a Victorian ghost appeal, Johnsonville has been much sought after for music videos and horror movies. Billie Joel’s 1993 single “The Rivers of Dreams” and the horror movie “Deep in Darkness” feature Johnsonville. Indeed the National Geographic show “Abandoned” explored Johnsonville in great detail which seemed to attract significant attention.
Prior to his death, Raymond Schmitt occasionally opened the town up for public and private events but after his death in 1998 all activity ended. The town was then acquired by a Connecticut-based hotel company with the idea of creating a retirement community although due to economic considerations at the time this never happened. So, there we have it, you have the chance to own your own Victorian ghost town on the Connecticut River for just $1.9 million.
While names are thin on the ground, rumour has it that a well-known Los Angeles musician is looking to acquire the town and convert it into a healing and wellness centre, a local brewery is looking to build a farm to table restaurant with event space while followers of Wiccan are apparently looking for a rustic space in which to worship. So, we can safely assume that Johnsonville will change hands in the coming months and while there is much work to do, how often you get the chance to buy your own ghost town for “just” $1.9 million?