Connecticut has its very own ghost town and it is up for sale. The town known as Johnsonville was founded in the mid-1800’s and has been abandoned since the 1990’s. As part of an auction that is scheduled to occur just in time for Halloween, the winning bidder will get approximately 62 acres of land. On the land sit the remains of two churches, a post office, a general store and a number of other assorted buildings that make up the village. The town which is a part of East Haddam, Connecticut has a starting bid of $800,000.
The town of Johnsonville was originally built by workers of a local mill known as the Neptune Twine Mill. The mill which supplied and manufactured twine for fishing nets used along much of the New England coastline, prospered well into the 1900’s until advancements in technology made fishing net production cheaper and easier. In the 1960’s after the mill closed and the town abandoned, a man named Raymond Schmitt purchased the 62 acres of land and transformed it into a Victorian village.
The original idea for the village was to turn it into a Connecticut tourist attraction. Schmitt purchased more Victorian buildings for the land and hosted different private events such as those for charity and even weddings. Schmitt never officially offered tours of the property and buildings but he did allow people to visit the property. Unfortunately for Schmitt the town was never able to become the destination that he wanted and after his death in the 1990’s his family sold the property off. Other investors have also tried their luck at turning around the fortunes of this forgotten Connecticut town, including a hotel developer who purchased the property in 2008. With no public sewers or water available in the area, the plans for the village fell apart and the town was once more abandoned.
Just in time for Halloween this Connecticut ghost town is once again going up for sale in an auction. The auction will only last for two days starting October 28 and ending on October 30. In the auction listing the property for sale is described as having a waterfall, a covered bridge and the numerous Victorian buildings, some of which were original to the town and others which were brought in as part of an effort to recreate the original village.
As with any abandoned buildings or in this case abandoned villages, ghost stories are guaranteed. With or without any ghost stories, the abandoned village is a true ghost town. The buildings are all closed up and are suffering from the neglect of sitting unused for so long. Whoever wins the bid for this town will have a lot of work ahead of them if they choose to restore the town to even a semblance of its former glory.
The town that now sits abandoned waiting for a new start has even played host to a music video for Billy Joel and was a part of a Cuba Gooding Jr. movie. Some Connecticut locals hope that their ghost town is sold to someone who will give the village new life. If a successful bid is placed then a new owner will have their very own ghost town in Connecticut to call their own for Halloween.
Opinion by Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Rick Harris – Flickr License