Buying an entire town proved Kim Basinger’s financial Waterloo, when she scooped up Braselton, Georgia, for $20 million. Five years later, her dreams of a Southern film-festival Mecca dashed, the actress declared bankruptcy and unloaded the property at a huge loss.
But a more modest play is available to the investor who’s always wanted an entire Zip code. For under $1 million, the not-quite-ghost-town of Scenic, South Dakota, can be your own Western-themed outpost in the Badlands.
Scenic is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with Rapid City its closest neighbor some 50 miles west. Once a cowboy town with a railroad stop, it hasn’t changed much since its founding in 1906. Most of the original buildings – a saloon, a couple shops, a dance hall, and two jails among them – still stand.
Except the train tracks don’t come to Scenic’s depot anymore, and the population has dwindled to under 10. The gas station and general store stopped operating in April for health reasons, according to the Realtor listing.
At $799,000, though, it’s a low-risk buy for an investor with a Western dream. And it’s not totally isolated – according to Forbes, about 700 cars pass by daily, most of them on their way to the Badlands National Park or a nearby Indian reservation. Get a few dozen of them to stop, and you could have a regular tourist trap on your hands.