Town sells on eBay for $1.78 million
THE WINNING bidderís offer on the Internet auction site for Bridgeville, about 260 miles north of San Francisco, must still be verified by the
sellers. The former logging town has 670 residents and its own ZIP code, 95526.
Just weeks ago, a multimillion-dollar final bid for rap star Eminemís childhood home in Michigan turned out to be bogus.
Prospective buyers from around the world jumped into the Bridgeville bidding during the Christmas holiday, causing the price to zoom up from
the original bid of $5,000 in late November.
No details were immediately available on the buyer who made the $1.78 million offer.
Bridgeville was sold by members of the Lapple family, which purchased the property for $150,000 in 1972. A previous attempt to sell the town in
1977 backfired after the church group that bought it failed to keep up with the payments.
ëOWN THE ENTIRE RUSTIC TOWNí
ìOwn the entire rustic town of Bridgeville,î invited the eBay listing, describing the property as a potential retreat, money maker or tax
The property went up on eBay in November and may be a first, said eBay spokesman Chris Donlay. ìWeíve seen lots of houses and buildings and
weíve seen land and weíve seen bridges, but not a town,î he said.
Still, there is not a whole lot of town left in Bridgeville, and what there is indeed a bit of a fixer-upper. Opinion varies on whether the
successful bidder will get a money pit or a gold mine.
Situated about 260 miles north of San Francisco in a tree-shaded bend of the Van Duzen River, the area is rich in scenery. There is a
particularly nice spot on the old bridge, now closed to traffic, that is perfect for elbow-resting and nature-contemplating.
On the other hand, the backhoe is not just for show. There is work to be done on the plumbing, and some of the houses have been declared
Still, plenty of people have a dream of what Bridgeville could be.
Postmaster Rose Clarke thinks Bridgeville would make a great location for a bed and breakfast. ìItís gorgeous out here, the river and the
bridge, and itís so quiet,î she said.
Ceci Lemieux, who lives in the hills above Bridgeville, is wistful for the days 20 years or so back when Bridgeville boasted a general store, a
cafe and a few other businesses.
ìPeople drive through here in the summer and want to stop ó ëIs there any place to get a cold drink and a piece of pie?í ó and itís like,
ëThere always used to be,íî Lemieux lamented.
These days, only the post office is still going, a homey spot that features a display of blue-ribbon ceramics by local schoolchildren and a
couple of bookcases that serve as an informal lending library.
Bridgeville was founded some years after the Gold Rush, according to a history put together by the Lapple family. The town was part of an
overland stage route to the seaport of Eureka.
Logging jobs dried up here decades ago, and many area residents are poor. The area is home to ranchers, artistic types drawn by the regionís
rugged beauty and, according to locals, a thriving marijuana horticulture.
Only a few people live in the section up for sale. Among the tenants is Carrie Erickson, who shares a small house with her boyfriend, her baby
daughter, a blind pit bull and a dog with a penchant for lying in the middle of the road. Before the auction closed, Erickson said she was ìjust
waiting till someone buys it and hope we still get to live here.î
Parts exempt from the sale included the main roads, which are owned by the state, and the old bridge, built in 1925 and listed on the National
Register of Historic Places.
Denise Stuart, the real estate agent who placed the listing, sees possibilities in Bridgeville, including fishing in the river and recreation
opportunities along its banks.
Lemieux would hate to see things change a lot, yet she yearns for a glimmer of the old days.
ìThe summers,î she said, ìare just wonderful here.î
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to