For $2.4 million, an adventurous buyer can become the proud owner of Johnsonville Village, Connecticut. The once bustling hamlet, now a virtual ghost town, is for sale -- again. Originally home to Connecticut’s twine industry in the 1830s, Johnsonville Village, which is located in the Moodus section of East Haddam, along Johnsonville Road just 30 minutes from Hartford and two hours from Boston and New York City, has sat mostly deserted since the Industrial Revolution put it out of business, according to Governing magazine.
Industrialist Raymond Schmitt bought the property in the 1960s and began traveling New England looking for period buildings in an effort to turn the place into an 18th-century Victorian village, Governing reported. Today, its 62 acres house eight antique buildings, including a schoolhouse, general store, chapel and livery stable. All empty, and awaiting what’s next.
Johnsonville never took off as a tourist attraction, and after a disagreement with local officials, Schmitt abandoned the village in 1994. It has had its moments, according to published reports. Lightning struck the mill in the 1970s and burned it down. The village appeared in Billy Joel's music video for the 1993 song "The River of Dreams (In the Middle of the Night)," which topped Billboard’s music charts are received four Grammy nominations, according to Wikipedia.
The current owner, Meyer Jabara Hotels of Danbury, initially put the town up for auction last October. It sold for $1.9 million, but the winning bidder was unable to secure financing.
Now Johnsonville is back on the market, and according to the listing earlier this year, “presents a unique redevelopment opportunity to combine the historic value of the 19th-century village with 21st-century living.”
"We've got buyers at the table, from developers to summer camps and beyond," the current owners told The Hartford Courant earlier this year. But a sale and closing has yet to be announced. The property has eight historic buildings on the western side of Johnsonville Road and, on the eastern side of the road, Johnsonville Mill Pond with a covered bridge, a wooden dam and a waterfall.
Interested parties run the gamut from individual investors to outdoor organizations and religiously affiliated summer camps. There was also an effort by “a bunch of people on Twitter, led by a man named Dan Sinker, trying to pool their money and buy Johnsonville,” according to a report published by Business Insider. The film industry, utility companies, local vineyards and hotel companies are thought to be among the possible buyers.
But not yet.