When real estate agent Stacie Montgomery called the local paper in Rapid City, S.D. to let them know her client was selling the small town of Swett (yes, the whole town) she thought she would get a little blurb in the publication.
So she was surprised when she saw the news land on the front page of the Rapid City Journal: "Got a spare $400,000? Buy your own town: Swett, South Dakota."
Then the phone calls started.
Potential buyers from Southern California, New York, New Jersey, Houston and Russia have been calling nonstop since Sunday morning, she said Monday.
"I had 11 phone calls in the middle of the night, and my phone has not stopped ringing," she said. "I expected some interest but I didn't think it the news was going to spread as fast or as viral as it has." The story was among the top new stories on Reddit.
Montgomery said about 50 people have called so far, including three while she was on the phone with a Times reporter.
Lance Benson, the town's current owner, is selling so he can focus on his traveling concession business, she said.
Included in the $400,000 price tag: a bar right on Highway 18, a workshop, three trailers, a house, and 6.16 acres of prairie real estate. (You can take a video tour.)
"It has its prairie scenery," she said. "It's pretty, but it's prairie."
Some potential buyers have been lured by the scenic vista, others are drawn by the appeal of owning a ghost town. One potential buyer wants to film a reality TV show there, she said.
The town used to have a population of 40 during the 1940s, according to the Rapid City Journal. Those were the boom days. The town slowly lost people to cities, and its population now stands at two people. Three, if you count Benson's dog.
Montgomery said she has been stunned by the attention, but Benson doesn't even know about it yet. Montgomery said she hasn't been able to reach his cellphone since the story came out Sunday morning.
"He has no idea," she said. "I called him 7 or 8 times yesterday."
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