| Texas Towns
TOWNS FOR SALE
and Invaluable (Free) Advice
By Brewster Hudspeth
December 6, 2007
was recently listed on Ebay with a minimum bid of $2 Million for its
28 acres, historic school (a young LBJ taught there) and a still-functioning
beer hall. (State roadside signage included.)
Photo courtesy David E. Spenser, 2007
|Not a Ghost
Town – but a Historic Museum Town
The Grove comes with a less acreage,
but a few more buildings. If you call in the next fifteen minutes,
they’ll throw in a huge collection of antiques and artifacts collected
since the early 1970s. We were told that whenever a period movie was
filming in Texas, and they needed some authentic prop or piece of
vintage equipment, they’d often check with The
Grove. The hearse from Lonesome Dove is included in the inventory.
The Grove also functions as a weekend
attraction and may be well on the way to becoming the next Luckenbach
(not for sale).
the years there have been other Texas towns for sale, notably Cornudas
in Hudspeth County (70 miles East of El
Paso) and Lajitas
which is down on the Rio Grande (90 miles south of Alpine
and is just outside the boundaries of the Big Bend National Park).
Lajitas is now a
sort of fly-in golf course and resort. The irrigated greens make it
impossible to miss from the air. The “town” reportedly sold for something
like 4.2 million in 2000. After pumping a reported $100,000,000 into
the place, it went into foreclosure in 2007 - $18 million in debt.
Photo courtesy Tom Hosier, 2006
Photo Courtesy Jason Penney
can be assumed that the old motel and service station that once made
up tiny Lobo, Texas (65
miles NW of Marfa on
old US 90) sold for considerably less than Lajitas
did. Lobo was bought by
a group of Germans.
remains on the state map as does Cornudas
and Lobo. Albert
and The Grove do not. I think it has
to do with how much room the cartographer has to work with.
the current surge in road trips by Baby-boomers trying to make sense
of their childhood memories from behind the windshield of Titanic
motor homes, and the popularity of motorcycle clubs, the “Golden Age”
of the quaint and curious “roadside attraction” is over.
sells maps which show the traffic counts of almost every road in the
state, so before you start entertaining dreams of rattlesnake farms,
prairie dog villages or longhorn timeshares, you might want to see
how many people actually pass these places. Don’t forget to factor
in both increased gas mileage and the incurious younger drivers of
Times have changed, and while movie writers and directors perpetuate
the iconic roadside diner – those places are long gone.
for those seeking solitude and a peaceful existence in a place where
people have moved on – there are hundreds of towns
that (while not being “authentic” ghost
towns) remain under-inhabited and would offer a similar lifestyle.
They might even provide some amenities – like water, electricity and
When investigating towns like these, one would be wise to check-out
the current residents (who might not enthusiastically embrace an increased
population). They, like you, may have moved here to get away from
Our suggestion to people with a ghost town / roadside attraction fantasy
would be to consult a model train catalog. Then buy a large piece
of plywood, order the tiny buildings, paint in the roadways, install
the infrastructure and then when the town looks like it’s going to
prosper, remove the railroad
tracks or bypass it with a new highway.
It’s how most Texas ghost
towns were made.
© John Troesser
or "Things Are Tough All Over"
In a December 8th 2007 San Antonio Express News article entitled
Bankrupt Resort Ordered Sold, staff writer John MacCormack
wrote of Lajitas,
calling it the “ill-fated” resort that “swallowed” $100,000,000.
The article stated that the resort had been bought in the year 2000
for 4.2 million. The Austin buyer/developer had dreams of turning
it into “The Ultimate Hideaway.”
may have over-estimated the need for such places. These days most
people seeking hideaways simply move to countries without an extradition
treaty with the United States. The resort (and the 25,000 acres
that come with it) had a foreclosure bid of 13.5 million from a
single investor. It also reported that the resort is 18 to 20 million
dollars in debt.
A final decision
on whether or not the sale proceeds is expected around the New Year.
Our thanks to Terry Jeanson of San Antonio for this update and to
David from Buckholts for the correction. - Ed.
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