Attention All History Buffs: You Can Own the Town Where Custer Had His Last Stand

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Chuck Pefley

For history buffs, some commemorate famous wartime battles with framed artwork. Others buy replicas of guns or militia garb. But the ultimate superfan would probably just prefer to own the battlefield. Fans of General George A. Custer have the opportunity to do just that. The Montana battlefield where Custer’s Last Stand took place is on the market.

It was site of one of the most famous battles in U.S. history — in 1876, in the midst of the Indian Wars, where General George A. Custer and 200 other soldiers from the 7th Cavalry were killed by Native American Sioux warriors. Now, it can be all yours for a mere $250,000. Garryowen, Montana, the 7.7-acre town where Custer’s Last Stand took place during the Great Sioux War, will be going up for auction on August 15.

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The quarter-million dollar opening bid might seem steep, but it comes with all the trimmings. Not only will the buyer own an entire town, there’ll also be a convenience store and gas station thrown in. If infrastructure isn’t your thing, historical significance abounds in the town: Garryowen contains a host of Reconstruction Era artifacts, including a tomb of an unknown soldier and an extensive manuscript collection belonging Custer’s wife, Elizabeth Bacon Custer.

Garryowen, named after an Irish-style song that Custer adopted for the 7th Cavalry, has a population of two: owner Chris Kortlander and a caretaker. Kortlander, a 54-old historical artifact dealer, purchased the town in 1993 after his Malibu home was destroyed in a wildfire. “The only thing I had were the clothes on my back,” he told Reuters.

Following a 19-year stay in the nearly-deserted town, health concerns have forced him to sell the property. But Kortlander hopes that by auctioning Garryowen, it will be bought by someone who will continue his work. “One reason for an auction is to attract that special person who wants to carry the torch,” he said. Or to find that one person with the desire to reenact a pivotal battlefield scene.

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