Listed for $1.25 million, the mostly defunct 40-acre town of Cleator, AZ, includes a functioning bar, general store, and 20 other structures—namely, the town’s original homes.
“There are residents who live there and prefer to live off the grid,” says Godsey. Those hardy souls might pique the interest of a buyer in search of an income stream.
The current tenants are renting on a month-to-month lease, and as the listing details put it, “The population is low, but it’s a friendly bunch.”
Another potential income opportunity? The purchase also includes mining rights for the large expanse of desert acreage.
“The federal rights do transfer with the sale of the property, along with the possibility of renaming the town,” says Godsey.
Established in 1864 as a gold-mining town, it was called Turkey Creek, but its post office closed in 1954.
“The population dwindled, and that’s when it became—for lack of a better word—a ghost town,” says Godsey.
When James P. Cleator bought the town in 1925, the tiny desert burg took his name. Relatives of the founder still own Cleator, but are now ready to hand it over to a buyer with a vision, says Godsey.
What could a seller do with this ghost town? Well, given the interest in off-roading in the area, Godsey suggests building an off-road park.
“If it’s used for commercial [purposes], or as a destination, keeping the history of the ghost town” could be a great idea, he says. “Maybe turning it into a ghost-town bar? Or maybe somebody wants to turn it into a spa-getaway destination?”
While the bar is currently operated by a third party, the town’s new owner could renegotiate the contract, and potentially, find a new operator.
Godsey says that based on his research, he believes that “red tape” could surface for a buyer trying to incorporate an honest-to-goodness town.
Resurrecting the city would require fire, police, and other municipal services.
“I’m doing a lot of back-end work behind the scenes to answer those questions,” he says.
Interest isn’t coming only from Arizona—or even just the Southwest.
“I’m fielding questions from all over the country,” he says. “I’ve had some pretty exciting conversations with people.”
Whoever snaps this up will already be in love with the idea of rural life—because there’s no city nearby.
“It’s definitely remote. It’s 11 miles off I-17. You’re basically going down a dirt road. You’re surrounded by the Bradshaw Mountains and Prescott National Forest,” says the agent.
What’s priceless is the chance to resurrect this slice of forgotten history.
“The opportunity of owning a town is so rare,” says Godsey.
In fact, a promotional video he created (his second career is in film production) has received nearly 100,000 views already. Could the town’s next owners have spotted their chance? We’ll keep an eye on it.Based in Milwaukee, Kristine Hansen writes about food, design, drink, and travel for publications ranging from Travel + Leisure’s website to a restaurant trade magazine. She lives in a 1924 bungalow and loves DIY projects.