For Sale! The Ghost Town that Nobody Wanted


24th Oct, 2014


Johnsonville, Connecticut may be completely void of (human) inhabitants at present and characterised by those particular houses where one might occasionally see the faint shadows of children in nightgowns watching you from the attic window, but hey– a few licks of paint and a good spring clean to wash those ghosts right out of your lair and you could be calling it home in no time! The 62 acre historic village in the nutmeg state goes up for auction with a starting bid of $800,000 in four days time*.

*Update! See the end of the post.

And in all seriousness, what MessyNessyChic doesn’t dream of owning their own ghost town?!


(c) Chris Michael

So first question– why are they selling an entire town? Well, for starters, it’s been vacant for more than 20 years and through its history, has been abandoned not once, not twice, but three times.


(c) Rick Harris

Dating back to the 1830s, Johnsonville was once a thriving mill town and popular recreation spot set along the Moodus River, with amenities including a restaurant called the Red House Restaurant, a general store and a one-room schoolhouse (pictured below).


Victorian and colonial-style houses with fireplaces and pillared porches were built by the families of the mill-owners where they lived contently up until the 1950s. All the historic buildings still remain. But then modernization crept up on the quaint community, work dried up and Johnsonville became a ghost town for the first time.


(c) Rick Harris


(c) Eric Konon

Next came along a millionaire named Ray Schmitt who bought the town in the 1960s and tried to turn it into a theme park, transporting several more historic buildings to the town to complete his vision, including a Victorian stable and chapel,  which hosted weddings and charity benefits.


But Schmitt’s idea of turning Johnsonville into a tourist attraction never took off and following ongoing disputes with local officials, the town was abandoned again after his death in 1998.


Ten years later, hope came knocking at the gates of Johnsonville once more when a hotel developer bought it in 2008. But as the paint continued to peel on the Victorian-era edifices and the streets remained eerily deserted, it became clear that nothing was happening for the town and last year Johnsonville appeared on the market once again for $2.9 million. It was never sold.


Damned, cursed, haunted? Who knows, but Johnsonville was the ghost town nobody wanted.


(c) Ellen F

Hopefully, things will finally change this Halloween. You’ve got to admit, the auction’s timing is pretty spot on!



(c) John Hart


(c) Eric Konon and RM Bradley describe the property as “an assemblage of 8 contiguous parcels totaling approximately 62 acres…a unique redevelopment opportunity to combine the historic value of the 19th century village with 21st century living as permitted uses include: single family, multifamily housing to include market rate and affordable, senior housing, arts/entertainment center, B&B’s, inn, restaurant/banquet facility, retail shops and schools.”


They made a rather impressive video for the property too…



While Johnsonville might very well make the ideal Hollywood film set for a scary movie, I think this forgotten town needs a new story that can offer a new beginning for a few forgotten souls out there …


Find Johnsonville’s listing and auction information here.


The Buyer of Connecticut’s Famous Ghost Town has Vanished, and Now It’s Back for $2.4M

At the auction last October, Johnsonville sold for $1.9M, but the winning bidder was unable to close the deal. Now the historic ghost town is back on the market, asking $2.4M.

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