Governments' Lighter Side

South Dakota town is on the auction block

Though Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are dwindling, one deeply-discounted sale remains for the loved one with a penchant for haunted shacks and moldy taverns.

Swett, S.D., a 6.16-acre, unincorporated town, has been placed on the auction block at the reduced price of $250,000, down from $399,000 when the property was first posted in June 2014, according to the Rapid City Journal. As an added bonus, the town not only includes scenic land but a closed tavern and purportedly haunted house. Lance Benson owned the virtually empty town, but lost it in a divorce, gained it back in 2012 and lost it again last month to a Nebraska bank that owned the mortgage, according to United Press International. Interested buyers across the globe expressed interest in the town, which is comparable in price to many single-parcel homes. 

A farmer founded the town in 1932, but, with residency never exceeding a few dozen, the government eventually decided to close the town in 1945, according to the real estate listing for the property. Since then the town has exchanged hands several times, but intrest in the town did not ramp up until last year, Stacie Montgomery, realtor for the town, told UPI. She originally received three written offers for the town, and she continues to get real estate and media calls about the town.

“Someone pitched a concept for a Dry Idea deodorant commercial, 'Never let them see you Swett,’” Montgomery laughed in her interview with the news agency. “One production company thought about rebuilding the town and calling it 'Swett Equity.'

“But the weirdest one came from a guy out of Nebraska who wanted to bring in 2,000 women from Russia, and 600 men who were felons, and he was going to build acrylic houses and run cameras 24 hours a day. I told him he needed to call the state because I couldn’t deal with the permits for anything like that.”

If and when Swett sells, it would be the second South Dakota town to do so, according to the news report. Iglesia ni Cristo, a Philippines-based church, bought Scenic, which includes 46 acres of land, a museum, gas station and bar, for more than $700,00 in 2011.

So, there appears to be a "Swett" deal awaiting the holiday shopper in search of South Dakota prairie land. 

If that's you, take a look at the virtual tour of Swett below:


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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.


Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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