A Historic Mojave Desert Town Is for Sale for a Bargain-Basement Price

The tiny town of Nipton, California, is looking for a buyer—could it be you?

Hidden away in the Mohave Desert’s Ivanpah Valley, just a few miles from the Nevada border, the tiny town of Nipton, California, is looking for a buyer. For just $2.75 million, that could be you.

Built as a railroad town in 1905, the little oasis between the tracks and the Joshua Tree forest was purchased by geologist Jerry Freeman in 1985 and sold to cannabis company American Green Inc. for $5 million in 2017 with plans to turn it into a marijuana Mecca. Sadly, that plan went bust within a year and the weed dreamers sold it to Delta International Oil & Gas for $7.7 million.

Whatever the gas company had planned, that too went kaput, and ownership reverted to Freeman’s widow, Roxanne Lang, who put it back on the market in November.

Despite a forced foreclosure and a pandemic shutdown, Nipton’s 15 to 25 residents definitely do not consider it a ghost town.

“$2.75 million is both the going, asking, and everything else price,” Stephen Sherin, who came to Nipton as an American Green consultant in ’17 and stayed, tells KTNV 13. “We are about to celebrate our one-year anniversary of not making money.”

Still, he says a buyer would be getting more than their money’s worth.

“What you get for [$2.75 million] is a general store, the outpost, the restaurant, the hotel which opened in 1905, its got five rooms, then there are five cabins, a container conversion, we have camping spots and the RV spaces across the road,” Sherin explained.

Yes, the hotel is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Clara Bow, who was one of many Hollywood legends who frequented Nipton during its heyday as a tourist destination, but that’s only part of its charm.

“It’s clear when you drive through town, it’s not a ghost town, we have ghosts, but this is not a ghost town,” Sherin told KTNV. “People come through here and they go, ‘We just had to come by and see it, we haven’t been here in five years!’ And so it’s a little heartbreaking not to be able to turn out a Nipton burger, but Nipton’s a town too tough to die. We’ll be back.”

In fact, Sherin says that Lang already has at least one promising prospect on the line: “We’re talking to a group off the East Coast, a well-recognized came, and part of their family wants to see something going forward that is green. It’s sustainable, it recognizes the past, and embraces something we can do better for the future.”

RELATED: A Photographer Explores Southern California’s Desert Ruins

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.