Frighteningly Cool California Ghost Town and Mining Operation Up for SalePosted on: June 14, 2018, by : Amy Pecoraro
From time to time, we see replica Old West towns with period antiques and ramshackle structures come up for sale.
However, Cerro Gordo is the real deal! It’s an actual California mining town that was abandoned in the early 1900s. The land has been held by the same family for decades since.
Now you can own this piece of the American West—it’s on the market for $925,000. The sale includes 24,000 square feet of buildings and about 300 acres in Lone Pine, which is 250 miles from Los Angeles.
The silver mine from 1867 on the property is credited with providing the wealth that helped build L.A. It’s also the first major mining camp south of the Sierra Nevada. In other words, this property is the real deal.
“This is not a facade of buildings in the back of a rest stop,” says listing agent Jake Rasmuson. “This is the real thing and very unique. And that’s why we’ve had a lot of interest in the property.”
The property owners have kept it as a “labor of love,” hiring a caretaker and offering tours of the place.
The site has been protected from looters, and most of the buildings have been restored. However, some were left in a state of “protected arrested decay,” as Rasmuson puts it.
The current generation of owners, three brothers, decided it’s time to let someone else take on the abandoned town. The sale includes some 22 buildings, operational houses, a former hotel, bar, and bunkhouse.
Buyers will “get just over 300 acres and they get a piece of American history,” Rasmuson says.
And unlike the nearby ghost town of Bodie, which is run as a state park, Cerro Gordo is private—which means there’s more leeway to change the existing structures, build on the land, or move on in.
But construction on the property will prove challenging.
The collection of buildings and mines are located over 8,000 feet above sea level in the Inyo mountain range. There’s significant snowfall during colder months, and four-wheel-drive vehicles are required to get up the back road that leads to the historic site.
After the Civil War, Cerro Gordo (which translates to “fat hill”) was a bustling settlement with a population of “4,800 hardy souls and 1,600 mules. It had 700 working mining claims and 37 miles of tunnels, plus five hotels, seven saloons, two brothels, and a 600-plot graveyard,” according to a 2006 story in the Los Angeles Times.
The miners sent their silver by steamship via Owens Lake to Los Angeles. When the silver dried up in the late 1880s (and the lake water was later diverted to the L.A. aqueduct), the town was abandoned. It has remained in private hands since the 1920s.
These days, the only visitors are tourists and reports of an occasional ghost. After all, what’s a ghost town without some ghost stories?
Although they’re bidding goodbye to the land, the sellers would like to see the property preserved.
“Their hope is that the future owner will continue in a similar manner,” Rasmuson says. “However, there’s no restriction on the sale.”
By the way, tours will continue until a sale goes through. See this website for more details.
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