Here's How You Can Buy a Small Town

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Investing in stocks and bonds is chicken feed compared with the newest rage: investing in your own small town.

That's the idea behind an auction to buy a Montana town with its own trading post, wireless tower and main street.

A tiny Montana town with its own trading post, wireless tower and main street goes up for auction April 5.

Billed as the "Nation's Smallest Town," Buford, Mont., is on the auction block for April 5. The hope among the town's principal owner -- and sole resident -- is that a buyer will show up and buy Buford, lock, stock and barrel.

According to a "buyer's list," the town is small in stature but large in amenities, once you get your arms around the idea you're buying an entire town out West.

Here's a look at what the winning auction bidder gets for "buying" Buford:

  • The Buford Trading post, an income-producing convenience and fuel store.
  • U.S, Postal Office boxes and a Union Wireless cellular tower with lease (also income-producing).
  • Five buildings, including a three-bedroom home, a 1905 schoolhouse (used as an office), a garage and a 1900s cabin (used as a tool shed).
  • Approximately 10 acres.
  • A parking area previously used by an overnight shipping company for nighttime trailer switches.

The town has a rich history, too. Buford, about halfway between Laramie and Cheyenne, was built to house families during the construction of the transcontinental railroad in the mid-1860s. There are two state parks near Buford and a national forest only 12 miles away. Tourists tend to flow through the town at a rate of 1,000 per day during the summer season, the town's Web site says.

But the closest business is 25 miles from Buford, which is 8,000 feet above sea level (the highest level for any town on U.S. Interstate 80, which rolls from San Francisco to Teaneck, N.J.).

How can get you in on this?

To participate in the auction, contact the real estate firm Williams and Williams via its Web site.There you'll find more information on the town and sale, as well as contact information. There is a minimum opening bid of $100,000.

Hey, anyone can buy a house. But buying your own town? That's a story not only for your grandchildren, but for their grandchildren, too -- hopefully one day living in Buford, Mont.

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