Buford, the smallest town in the U.S., with only one resident and his own ZIP code, was sold yesterday at auction to two Vietnamese investors who paid nine times the starting price.
Located on Interstate 80, in the state of Wyoming, the village consists of a 4-hectare lot with a small store and gas station, a house, a 1-room schoolhouse and a post office with its own ZIP code (82052). Buford, altitude 8,000 ft., is one of the highest points in Wyoming and it’s subject to severe weather in winter, with frequent snow and wind storms.
The auction took place in the tiny village with a starting price of US$100,000. There were about a dozen interested buyers and within 15 minutes it was sold to two businessmen from Vietnam who paid 9 times the initial price. Following the auction the purchasers eluded interviews and quickly departed the town.
The only resident of the village, Don Sammons, 61, moved to Buford, WY, from California in 1980 with his wife and son. In 1992, he purchased the town along with its only business, the “Buford Trading Post”. When his wife died in 1995, the tiny village was left with only two inhabitants. His son did not think the town’s politics were democratic enough and left the village in 2007.
“I would have never thought that somebody from Vietnam would have bought my town. It’s hard for me to grasp that. I was in Vietnam (as a soldier) in ’68 and ’69, and it’s really nice to know that even though we had problems at one time, we can be reunited and live together.”said Sammons with tears in his eyes, according to local media. (Laramie).
Buford, named after General John Buford, Jr. (1826 – 1863), a Union cavalry officer during the American Civil War, was founded in 1866. During the time of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad the town had a population of about 2,000. After the railroad was re-routed, the town became nearly deserted since most people relocated and the town was reduced to a house, the gas station and the convenience store with 5 mailboxes.
Nothing much has happened in Buford since the 1800s. In 1869, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant briefly visited the town, and about a decade later Butch Cassidy also stopped there and robbed a store at gunpoint. This feat, along with other charges of stealing horses and possibly running a protection racket among the local ranchers, brought him to prison in Laramie, Wyoming, where he served 18 months of a two year sentence.
Now the former one-person village is in the news again for becoming the first town in the US with a population of two, 100% of Vietnamese origin.