Back in 1865, silver was discovered in Cerro Gordo, California, and the little valley town quickly blossomed to a population of about 5,000 prospectors. After the collapse of silver prices in the late 1870s, that population rapidly vanished. The remote ghost town about 200 miles northeast of Los Angeles has long since drawn curious visitors looking for a history lesson and a glimpse of the real Wild West.
Since going on the market last month, the privately owned former silver mining town has received plenty of bites from would-be owners looking for a slice of California history. Last week, one buyer’s bid was accepted, and it looks like something pretty spectacular will soon be in the works.
According to CNN, Brent Underwood, who owns a backpacking hostel in Austin, has big plans to revamp Cerro Gordo, bringing creature comforts like WiFi and comfy accommodations to some of the town’s centuries-old buildings, which include a historic hotel, saloon, and chapel. He also hopes the town will become a destination for cultural happenings and “high level programming in forms of writing retreats, music events, dining experiences, […] and more.”In terms of authenticity, there’s plenty to work with, thanks to the Cerro Gordo Historical Foundation, which has preserved the 300-acre town’s 22 standing structures and many precious relics, which are on display at the town’s General Store.
“It isn’t often you’re entrusted to maintain such an interesting part of American history,” Underwood told CNN. “We want to maintain the historic nature of the property while introducing amenities that will allow more people to enjoy the location.”