Ghosts towns are known for their creepy ambiance and unsettling emotive powers. We’ve already told you about a Chinese ghost town, a South Dakota ghost town that was recently purchased by a Filipino church and plenty of other eerie properties. Now, there’s yet another vacant locality worth telling you about. This one — a railroad ghost town in Emery County, Utah — consists of more than 700 acres of land and is currently up for sale.
The town, called Woodside, has been abandoned for years. At its height in the 1920s, about 300 people resided there. By all accounts, it was a tiny town with very few bells and whistles. Despite this fact, Woodside’s intriguing history may help market it to prospective buyers.
Broker Mike Metzger is being tasked with unloading the property, which will be sold along with water and partial mineral rights. And, for an extra added bonus, the lucky purchaser will also inherit a number of “free-range llamas,” the only inhabitants roaming about the land.
Deseret News reports that the town had its beginnings back in 1881. First, it was named Lower Crossing and was used by as a railroad water stop. Eventually, the town grew and stores, a blacksmith shop and a school were conceived. When the railroad consolidated following the 1920s population peak, things changed for Woodside.
“When the railroad had no more use for (Woodside), it was just kind of doomed to a slow death,” said Edward Geary, a retired BYU professor and the author of “A History of Emery County.”
The town got a brief reprieve in the late 1930s when the highway was built and a cold water geyser — created decades earlier by railroad workers seeking fresh water for their steam engines — became a minor sensation with tourists.
“They had signs up and down the highway and they built up a board fence so you couldn’t see it without paying admission and going inside,” Geary said, noting that at one time the so-called “Roadside Geyser” was blasting a column of water about 75 feet in the air every 40 minutes.
“As I recall, it was just about the time they invested money in it, that it petered out,” he said. “I think probably by 1970, there were no full time residents at all in Woodside.”
Metzger, like any good salesman, touts the benefits of owning such vintage property (despite the town’s decay). After all, the land, in itself, is valuable. And if anyone has any extra money laying around and an urge to own a town of his or her own, this would certainly be an interesting way to invest.
“It’ll take a little bit of fixing up, as you look around. It hasn’t been in service for a few years, but it’s a classic piece of Americana that isn’t available anywhere else that I’m aware of,” he explained. “You would need to reinstate the charter, to make it an official town, but that’s all that is required.”
Read the rest about this fascinating ghost (or llama) town over at Deseret News.