The ghost town of Cerro Gordo has officially been sold - and it looks like the property in Lone Pine, CA, is going to become a popular destination for creative types. The 24,000 square foot abandoned town was originally settled in the mid 19th century, and the miners first struck silver there in 1865. Since then, the 300-acre property went through a boom... and a bust, and now the town sits empty, owned and managed by the same family for decades.
Earlier this month, Cerro Gordo was put up for sale, with an asking price of $925,000 that includes the land and twenty-two buildings on it, in various states of repair. It was a sale that sparked speculation; would Cerro Gordo be preserved in some way that pays respect to its status as the first major mining camp south of the Sierra Nevada, or would the ghost town be razed to make way for something totally different? Now, the buyer of the town has revealed their plans to renovate the site for visitors, with a focus on theater, writing retreats, photoshoots, and other creative experiences.
Cerro Gordo was purchased by hostel owner Brent Underwood for the sum of 1.4 million on July 13th. Underwood has now revealed that alongside his partner, Jon Bier, he will be renovating the ghost town to turn it into a destination spot. Underwood's plans involve the addition of modern amenities to the location, but he and Bier want to preserve as much of the history and Wild West ambience of the site as possible;
We're looking to create a new destination. It isn't often you're able to have such a canvas to work with. We have over 300 acres and dozens of buildings. We want to maintain the historic nature of the property while introducing amenities that will allow more people to enjoy the location.
Underwood also spoke about plans to make this more than just a vacation spot, but to use it for arts-focused events, including writing workshops, live music, and theater performances.
[We want to bring] high level programming in forms of writing retreats, music events, dining experiences, photo shoots, theater, special events, and more.
There is currently no date set for the town to open to the public, but that's not surprising, given that Underwood only acquired the property on Friday.
The plans for Cerro Gordo certainly seem to strike the right balance between preserving the history of this little slice of the Old West, and creating something to breathe new life into the town. Historical sites and museums may be the more traditional way of preserving spots like this one, but there's little doubt that the opportunity to stay in the town's hotel or Belshaw bunkhouse (with the addition of wifi and running water, of course) and attend incredible events will bring more attention and visitors to Cerro Gordo than yet another mining museum.
Of course, when it does open, Cerro Gordo won't be the only ghost town where travelers can visit and stay the night. Several other ghost towns exist where campers can pitch their tents or visitors can find a bed for the night, and range from the more rustic campgrounds of Silver City, Idaho, to the all inclusive resort at Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado. However, it sounds like Underwood's plans will make Cerro Gordo a totally unique experience.