Last Remaining Resident Puts Wyoming Town Up for Auction

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Michael Smith / Wyoming Tribune Eagle / AP

Buford resident Don Sammons stands in front of the population sign in a Jan. 1, 2011, photo. He is the town's sole resident and plans to sell it by auction

When the sole resident of a town decides to step aside, the only thing left to do is put the place up for sale. Don Sammons, famous for being the lone inhabitant of Buford, Wyo., says it’s time to sell off Buford and let someone else live his atypical lifestyle.

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Sammons moved to the edge of Interstate 80, between Laramie and Cheyenne, with his family in 1980. He took over a convenience store, the Buford Trading Post, in 1992 and operated it until the end of 2011, but his family slowly moved away over the years. Now Sammons is left owning the 10-acre (4 hectare) unincorporated town with its own zip code, a town at least tied for the smallest anywhere with just one resident.

At noon on April 5, Oklahoma City–based Williams & Williams will start the auction at $100,000 for the acreage, a three-bedroom home, a gas station, the Buford Trading Post, a 1900s cabin (now used as a toolshed), a garage and a schoolhouse built in 1905.

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The second oldest town in Wyoming, Buford originated in the 1860s and was a semi bustling town of about 2,000 residents, but the rerouting of the transcontinental railroad sealed its fate. Buford’s most famous moments date back to the 19th century. President Ulysses S. Grant visited in 1869, and outlaw Butch Cassidy robbed a store there about a decade later (he was caught and served time in Laramie). Since then, Buford hasn’t made the news much. Still, Sammons has said “it was a great life for me and my family” and that he hopes others will want a similar experience. There is no word on where Sammons will go for his next stage of life.

Despite a steady stream of traffic whizzing past the mountain town on I-80, Buford living isn’t easy. You can expect spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains, but the extreme weather that goes with them closes I-80 multiple times each winter. Plus, even with the thousands of people who stop at the trading post every week, having no neighbors can make for a lonely existence.

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