The Town That Keeps Getting Abandoned

The once bustling hamlet of Johnsonville, Conn., now a ghost town, is up for sale -- again.
by | October 2015
(David Glowka)

For $2.4 million, an adventurous buyer can become the proud owner of Johnsonville, Conn. The once bustling hamlet, now a ghost town, is for sale -- again. Originally home to Connecticut’s twine industry in the 1830s, Johnsonville, which is located just 30 minutes from Hartford and two hours from Boston and New York City, has sat mostly deserted since the Industrial Revolution put it out of business. Industrialist Raymond Schmitt bought the property in the 1960s and began traveling New England looking for period buildings in an effort to turn the place into an 18th-century Victorian village. Today, its 62 acres house eight antique buildings, including a schoolhouse, general store, chapel and livery stable. But Johnsonville never took off as a tourist attraction, and after an argument with local officials, Schmitt abandoned the village in 1994. The current owner, Meyer Jabara Hotels, initially put the town up for auction last October. It sold for $1.9 million, but the winning bidder was unable to secure financing. Now Johnsonville’s back on the market, and according to the listing, “presents a unique redevelopment opportunity to combine the historic value of the 19th-century village with 21st-century living.”