Friday, May 11, 2012

Just in Time for Mother's Day- Entire Montana Town for Sale for $1.4 Million

Stuck for gift ideas for mom, dad or the graduate in your life? Flowers, neckties and gift cards have pretty much been done to death- so why not try something out of the ordinary and bid on an entire town?

The southern Montana town of Pray will be hitting the auction block next month and is expected to fetch an asking price in the neighborhood of $1.5 million. Now, I know this isn't the first time I suggested purchasing an entire town as a gift idea. However, unlike Currie, NV, the town of Pray has about 10 full time residents and is not considered a ghost town.

Barbara Walker owns all five acres of Pray, Montana. She collects rent from the ten other people who live there.

"I'm a one woman show," Walker said. "So I decided OK, if I have to be the maintenance man and garbage man and sanitarian then I'm going to be the mayor too!"

Founded in 1909, Pray is named after a Montana congressman. Walker's family has run it since 1953, and not much has changed. The general store seems frozen in time. Before a new highway was built, this was a popular stop on the road that leads to Yellowstone National Park.

Walker lost her husband Johnny to cancer in 2006. Trying to revive the town alone was just too much work. She's selling the entire town, including her house at action next month.

Pray is like a lot of frontier towns, built on big hopes as the railroads pushed west. Many of those towns are now long gone, but Pray has kept its name on the map for one single reason - the post office.

"A zip code. That's it, plain and simple," Walker said. "It was the reason for Pray becoming Pray in 1909 and that's the reason it's called a town today."

When you pull into the tiny town of less than a dozen people, the post office is the first thing you notice. The zip code on the front of the building is a point of pride for people

Pray is located to the north of Yellowstone National Park and about 20 miles south of Livingston, MT- a railroad town and flyfishing destination. Some 40 miles northeast of Pray is the college town of Bozeman, home of the Montana State University campus.

Pray is not the first town in the region to be put up for sale. The tiny town of Buford, WY sold to a Vietnamese buyer in an online auction for $900,000 back in April. During the summer of 2011, a Filipino church purchased the South Dakota Badlands town of Scenic for $700,000.

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