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This beautiful abandoned town in Tennessee is for sale
01 October 2021
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$725,000 could buy you an abandoned middle tennessee town.
Photo credit: christaswartz.fathomrealty.com
If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a rural Tennessee town, this could be your chance. It might sound like the premise of a popular Canadian television series you may have seen on Netflix, but the entire historic town of Water Valley, Tennessee, is up for grabs for just $725,000.
Located in Maury County between Leiper’s Fork and Columbia, Water Valley was established in 1874 when a local post office opened there. The community was once a bustling hub along the Middle Tennessee Railroad, which stretched between Franklin and Mount Pleasant, but the train line’s removal in the 1930s marked the beginning of the town’s decline. Water Valley and its historic buildings were left abandoned for decades, but now this picturesque ghost town is back on the market.
See more: 10 Reasons to Spend a Day in Historic Granville
The Future of Water Valley
While real estate broker Christa Swartz , who represents the town’s current owners, told News Channel 5 she’s had a few calls from Hollywood asking about buying the town to use as a movie set, a future in the film industry is unlikely for Water Valley. Swartz and the current owners are looking for a buyer with the imagination to preserve the town’s history and restore its properties, not as a stage, but as a rural retreat similar to nearby Leiper’s Fork.
So what will $725,000 get you in Water Valley? The tiny town comes with 7 acres of stunning rural land along Leiper’s Creek, the original stock barn, a residence and four general stores built before 1900.
While the original structures might be fixer-uppers, the sellers are optimistic that whoever purchases the property won’t demolish them. They’re hopeful the new owners will have the vision and budget to transform the ghost town into a new thriving community that preserves Water Valley’s history and charm for both Middle Tennessee locals and visitors alike.
To learn more about the property, contact Christa Swartz .
See more: The Gathering at Milton: Reviving a Historical Building for Today’s Get-Togethers
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A beautiful community- I hope it finds an investor to keep its original prestige. 🙏🏻
It was extremely all around composed and straightforward. Not at all like different online journals I have perused which are truly not that good.Thanks a lot best treadmill under 30000
The state should buy it and renovate and keep it as an historic farm park . Farm Bureau should assist with that
I would dearly love to buy this town. Restore it back to historical period. Provide a little piece of history for schools/visitors to come see how life was back in simpler times.
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A whole town for sale! Water Valley, Tennessee. Four stores and seven acres. $725,000
A whole ghost town! There are so many possibilities for this listing! Looks to be close to the mountains, maybe an airbnb set up. The listing includes four 19th century general stores. The town was originally called Water Valley. It is located on seven acres in Tennessee. Can you imagine the stories these buildings could tell. There is also a pretty creek that runs through the property. The listing includes an old barn. Two of the buildings have updated electric and plumbing. Four bathrooms. $725,000
Contact Christa Swartz with Fathom Realty Tennessee: 888-455-6040
From the Zillow listing:
Incredible opportunity to own the original little town of Water Valley. The history is rich, the stories are plenty! This listing includes 7 acres, 4 pre-1900 built general stores, the original Stock Barn, and the most beautiful frontage along Leiper’s Creek! 2 buildings have updated wiring and plumbing, grandfathered in to be used for commercial, residential, B&B, or get creative! Parking and Picnic space and Mulberry trees galore. 3520 & 3535 Water Valley Road included in this sale.
Let them know you saw it on Old House Life!
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This Tennessee ghost town is for sale for $725K
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Entire historic Tennessee town for sale for $725K
Real estate broker Christa Swartz speaks with FOX Television Stations about an entire historic Tennessee town up for sale.
MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. - For fans of the television show "Schitt’s Creek," this is one of those moments when life imitates art.
An entire Tennessee town — named Water Valley — is up for sale. And it could be all yours for $725,000.
Nashville-based real estate broker Christa Swartz said the approximately 7-acre parcel of land is actually what’s left of Water Valley after the town was incorporated into nearby Williamsport, Tennessee. Swartz said Water Valley is no longer formally recognized as a town after its post office closed.
The portion of land up for sale is about an hour away from Nashville International Airport in Maury County, sitting near the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway.
Water Valley, Tenn. (Credit: Christa Swartz)
"It’s a quiet little place on a beautiful strip of highway that goes through there," Swartz told FOX Television Stations on Saturday.
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Swartz, who’s handling the sale, said the property includes a few buildings such as two general, hardware and sporting good stores. It has a population of about 15 residents plus their pets and livestock. A creek and a barn are also located on the property.
"You could totally be your own mayor," she continued. "You would also be your own everything else though, too ... so the cleaner and the mayor and the barkeeper. You could be the antique store owner."
"You get to make the decisions and make the rules for your own little town if you get Water Valley," she said.
Swartz said county officials will handle the infrastructure such as roads and water.
Swartz said the town came up for sale after the four related owners decided to put it on the market. She said Water Valley dates back to at least the 1890s when it was known for its apple orchards. She added the town has been sold multiple times, with the last purchase being in the 1970s by the four owners.
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Swartz — who said the town’s listing is the first of its kind for her — has received multiple offers from potential buyers and believes the owners will select their successor in the coming days. She couldn’t disclose how many serious inquires she has received but revealed some are from locals and some are Hollywood producers, looking to use the town for their own film and television productions.
"I am inundated with calls from all over the United States," she added. "I had 93 calls in one day just for this property."
However, she cautions potential buyers that owning the town is a big responsibility. Some areas are located in flood-prone zones and some buildings could use updated wiring and plumbing.
Swartz put into words why the opportunity to buy Water Valley is so fascinating.
"For locals, they recognize the dreaminess of this, and also it’s just the perfect proximity to Nashville," she said. "It’s some of the prettiest country you’ll see in Tennessee."
"Any everybody else has probably seen Schitt’s Creek or some other dreamy, little small town-type television series or something that has drawn them into this story and makes them lean in and want to hear more," she said.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.
Have you ever wanted to own a Tennessee town? Now's your chance.
WATER VALLEY, Tenn. — Nestled down a country road lined with sprawling fields and the occasional farmhouse is a defunct town called Water Valley. The tiny historical plot of the long-forgotten town core is for sale for $725,000.
With that comes a barn, an apartment and four old stores, which were the lifeblood of the small country town near the Williamson-Maury county line. It's rural enough that the only sound you're likely to hear is the hum of cicadas, the bubbling of a fish-filled creek and maybe the quack of a nearby neighbor's duck. But it was once a bustling stop for the Middle Tennessee Railroad. The road that takes you to what's left of Water Valley lies on top of the old railroad bed.
"This was the hub for that train that came through here," said Christa Swartz, the real estate agent representing the listing. But when the railroad was ripped out in the early 1930s, that was the death knell for Water Valley, she said.
The town was previously known as Spencer's Mill, but due to flooding from nearby Leiper's Creek, locals renamed it Water Valley when the first post office was established in 1874.
A step back in time
The town was once famous for its orchard trees, but when a fungus carried by cedar trees was introduced to the area, they all died. Original apple boxes are still in one of the stores, tucked away in a storage area.
A previous owner transformed two of the buildings into an event venue where she hosted weddings and live music. The apartment that's attached to the former general store was updated and formerly served as a bed and breakfast.
Walking into the old general stores is a step back in time.
The benches out front, where old men would sit and gossip, beckon you to rest. The original counters welcome you in on either side of the store, and the shelves are still lined with original advertisements for products, including Vick's VapoRub, which would've been cutting edge medicinal care when it was sold to patrons. The doorframe is filled with cursive scrawled in pencil chronicling the heights of different town children. The original cash register is tucked away, and the highest amount a clerk could enter was a whopping $1.
Swartz is fascinated by the late 1800s property, and she's been elated to piece together the town's history for prospective buyers. Many who have expressed interest have been from out-of-state. She's hopeful that whoever buys the property can transform it into a rural retreat, like what nearby Leiper's Fork is today.
"It's just the most peaceful, lovely place," she said. "The minute I saw this, I was imagining a little, smaller version of Leiper's Fork. This place is so rich in romance and dreaminess."
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It was that dreaminess that attracted Jeff High to write a fictional series that takes place in the town. If you visit High's website, you'll uncover a fictitious world where Water Valley is still a happening place, complete with a monthly calendar of events, recipes and short stories.
For more information about the property, contact Swartz.
Reach Brinley Hineman at [email protected] and on Twitter @brinleyhineman. To stay updated on Williamson County news, sign up for our newsletter.
‘We’re selling an entire town!’ The rare, unique business of ghost towns for sale
If you’ve bought a home, you know the life milestone that can be. Well, some realtors have a new prospect for you. It’s rare, and it’s definitely unusual, but no matter where you live, there’s probably an option not too far away.
“All these signs are original,” said Christa Swartz of Fathom Realty, pointing to old signs for Dr. Pepper and Vicks VapoRub hanging from a wall.
This time, Swartz doesn’t have the usual job of giving the key to just one property. She’s got so much more than that cut out for her.
“We’re selling an entire town,” she smiled. “I have been a realtor for 14 years, and I have never met another realtor who has sold a whole town.”
Water Valley, Tennessee comes with seven acres, four general stores from before 1900, a stock barn, and a little creek. It also comes with the little things that make its story; the hole in a wall that was once a store’s mail slot, the chipped away part of the sidewalk where a man used to sit and tap his cane.
“This particular area became famous for the apple orchards that were all through this back in the 1800s,” said Swartz. “It was thriving so much the railroad came through here.”
Swartz said in the 1930s and 40s, a bustling time for Water Valley, no one would have guessed the porches would one day be so quiet.
“Cedar trees were introduced to the area,” she said. “They carried a blight with them that killed off the apple trees, and soon after, the railroad stopped running through. That’s the end of probably a lot of little towns across America. People moved on.”
Water Valley became one of several towns in America waiting for its next chapter while on sale.
So, how much do you pay for a town? Bridgeville, California is on the market for $1.5 million. You can have Henry River Mill Village in North Carolina for $1.4 million. Then there’s Cleator, Arizona for one buck under a 1 million.
The price for Water Valley is even lower than all of those, coming in at $725,000.
And yes, towns go for lower than that. You can own the 6-acre Swett, South Dakota for $250,000, well below the average cost of a condo.
In the case of Water Valley, the sale would be going to the four people who have owned the town for the past 20 years, and they do have specific buyers in mind. They want buyers not bothered by the occasional cow in the road.
“The people who own it do not want to sell it to people who will just raze these and create a development,” said Swartz.
Instead, Swartz said the idea is to perhaps model it after the nearby Leiper’s Fork, a little picket fence oasis in the middle of farmland, maybe with antiques, homemade ice cream, and a wedding venue.
Swartz said the offers are already coming in, but just like any other town for sale, it’s about what buyer’s cut out to end up with that key.
“It is very special selling a town,” she said. “This is a story. This is America’s history, and I want to drink deeply while I’ve got this little period of time. I get to be part of the story.”
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