For Sale: An Entire Connecticut Ghost Town

And today in things that really made me wish I was a millionaire, we have this: A Connecticut ghost town is going up for sale on October 28. The historic town was once called Johnsonville Village; a part of East Haddam, CT, it’s hitting the auction block in just a few days on You guys. You have no idea how badly I wish I could buy this place. But if wishes were fishes… well, we all know how that goes.

Originally founded in the 1830s, Johnsonville played host to a pair of mills. Powered by the Moodus River, the Neptune Mill, built in 1832, and the Triton Mill, which arrived in 1862, produced twine on a massive scale. By 1865, the industry had moved on and most of the mills had been destroyed or abandoned — but that didn’t stop Raymond Schmitt, who owned the aerospace equipment manufacturer AGC Corporation, from purchasing the one remaining mill: The Neptune Mill. He didn’t buy it with the intention of putting the property to use as an industrial center, though; instead, he turned it into a Victorian-themed tourist attraction. Along with the mill, he had also purchased a whole bunch of Victorian-era buildings elsewhere and had them moved to Johnsonville. He even bought a vintage steamboat and had it towed up the Connecticut River to the town. Although Schmitt eventually purchased the whole of Johnsonville in 1950, the Neptune Mill burned down in 1972. The attraction finally shut down in 1994 after Schmitt had what’s frequently referred to as a “disagreement” with zoning officials from East Haddam.

After Schmitt’s death in 1998, his estate sold off his antiques and a number of the Johnsonville buildings. After sitting vacant for 10 years, the property was purchased by a hotel developer in 2008; the plans to refurbish the site never came to fruition, however, and the company, MJABC LLC, put the whole thing up for sale in 2013. No one sprang for the $3 million asking price, though… and that’s how it ended up on the auction block today with a starting bid of $800,000.

Alas, I do not have $800,000 to burn, so I will not be placing any bids for Johnsonville — even though it’s a spectacularly beautiful place, in that spooky, abandoned sort of way. Some even claim that it’s actually haunted, either by Schmitt or by Emory Johnson, who built and ran the Triton Mill. As such, it’s probably no surprise that a number of urban explorers have managed to finagle their way into the ruined town over the years; their photographs, as you can see here, are incredible. The auction site has also put together a video tour of the place — the music used in it is ridonculously cheesy, but if you can look past that fact, it’s still pretty neat. Check it out below — and if, by some miracle, you have $800,000 just lying around the house, you can place your bids for Johnsonville here. Once the auction begins on the 28th, you’ll only have two days to wrangle for it, so act fast.

Images: ekonon, Rick Harris (2), jcbwalsh (2)/Flickr