Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

For sale: Small South Dakota town, bar included

Author:

Have you dreamed of owning your own town? Then you're in luck – Swett, South Dakota, is on the market for $399,000.

Lance Benson, a businessman who owns a traveling concession company, plans to sell the town, which is an unincorporated hamlet in Bennett County, roughly two hours southeast of Rapid City, the Rapid City Journal reports. He and his wife are the only two that live in the town, which used to have a population of 40 in the 1940s.

Included in the purchase is 6.16 acres, a three-bedroom house, three trailer houses, a large garage, a liquor license and the Swett Tavern, according to the Coldwell Banker listing.

The Swett Tavern is what keeps the town alive, the Rapid City Journal says. It's the only bar in a 10-mile radius, so it's a popular gathering place for a small group of locals.

Benson, who bought the town in 1998 and gave it to his ex-wife in a divorce before reclaiming it in 2012, is sad to sell the town, but he wants to focus on his core business, according to the Rapid City Journal.

What does it mean to own a town?

Although putting an entire town on the market isn't very common, Forbes says, this isn't the first time a South Dakota town has gone up for sale. In 2011, the Iglesia ni Cristo church, established in the Philippines in 1914, bought Scenic, South Dakota, for just under $800,000, the Associated Press reports.

Not much has been done with the town since it was purchased, and the church hasn't commented on why it bought the town, the Rapid City Journal says.

Last fall, a Wyoming town, with a population of one, went up for auction and sold for $900,000. CBS News also gives examples of towns that have gone on the market in recent years.

So what does it mean to own a town? Towns can't truly be bought and sold like a regular house. A town that's for sale is legally either an abandoned town or an unincorporated rural community – so it receives many county services, MSN Real Estate says.

The MSN article goes on to detail how much work it is to own a town, comparing the town's owners to landlords and the town's residents to renters. People who own a town have to deal with water and sewer hookups, garbage cleanup, etc.

MSN also outlines several towns that have gone on the market again and again because they've proven to be more work than expected.

Next Up

Patrick Peterson

Vikings place Patrick Peterson on COVID-19/reserve list

The Vikings cornerback said he was vaccinated in August.

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

'Numerous' reports of eager anglers falling through ice

Conditions are still unpredictable, and can vary even across a single body of water.

covid

Minnesota health officials watching closely for omicron variant

Health leaders do not yet know how transmissible or severe the new variant is.

school bus stop pixabay

School bus driver charged in fatal hit-and-run will plead guilty

Another motorist told the driver to call 911, but he instead got on the bus and drove off, charges say.

Franconia Sculpture Park - Lorie Shaull - Flickr

5 outdoor destinations to explore around the Twin Cities

There's something for everyone on this list of overlooked spots.

Child mental health counseling

As pandemic continues, so do efforts to improve child mental health access

Children's Minnesota has announced it will open its first inpatient mental health facility for under 18s.

Dalvin Cook

Report: Dalvin Cook suffered torn labrum, dislocated shoulder

Cook is now dealing with a dislocated shoulder and a torn labrum on both sides of his body, according to a report.

Tanner Morgan

Tanner Morgan returning to Gophers for 6th season

One Gophers QB has already entered the transfer portal.

Allina Health Richfield - 407 W 66th St, Richfield, Minnesota - June 2019 - CROP

Charges: Clinic locked down after man tried to enter, threatened passersby

Staff at the clinic suspected he was intoxicated, according to the complaint.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, November 29

The state's latest report includes data from the Thanksgiving break.

unsplash - woman sick coughing - CROP

Long COVID: Review of Mayo patients may provide new clues

The researchers summarized three "major novel findings" from the data.

Joe Biden

Biden's visit to MN will include stop at Dakota County Technical College

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed earlier this month.

Related