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For Sale: Ghost Town With Liquor License, Near Gold Mine
November 13, 2013
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Attention would-be pioneers and prospectors, there's a Craigslist real estate ad selling a "ghost town" in Northeastern California which might just be perfect for you.

For the price of $225,000 US ($235,500 Cdn) you could own Seneca, California, the remote 9.8-acre property which includes a "town," a bar known as "The Gin Mill" and three small rundown cabins. The ad also includes this vague suggestion of gold nearby: "Seneca is the real McCoy. Historic. Very close to, or containing a historic Chinese-built gold mine. (There is active gold mining today in the nearby region.)"

A historic plaque on the site reads:

Seneca: Gold was found in 1851 and a wild mining town was born with a dance hall, feed store, livery, blacksmith, post office, grocery, rooming houses and a hotel with solar heated showers. The canyon's mine included the Sunnyside, Lucky Chance, White Lily, and Last Chance. A 10 stamp mill pounded out the ore. One mine had 500 Chinese miners; each earned 10 cents a day in rice and they had an opium den. The largest nugget found here was 42 ounces; worth $28,000 in 1942. The most famous spot was the gin mill run by Marie Sabin who moved here in 1934 with her husband Don. Marie was known as the guardian angel of Seneca.

One of the other big selling points in the ad is the ability to sell booze. "The liquor license alone is a valuable asset as there aren't many liquor licenses in this county."

Potential Dragons' Den-minded entrepreneurs should consider the following two points, however: first, "a big tree is growing up through the porch of the bar;" and second, "there are no utilities and there was no business activity at the bar this past season." 

The property, according to SFGate, has been owned by Jerry Manpearl and Tim Ten Brink for the last four decades, and in the '70s, they held music festivals on the site, which is located in Plumas County, an area where the Sierra and Cascade mountains meet. Those with only a modest sense of adventure might find the drive to get there uncomfortable, since, as the ad notes, "The northern access [road] is scary and features maybe 1000-foot drops into a gorge."


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