Published November 11, 2013
A 12-acre slice of the American dream -- a gold mining ghost town in northern California, complete with bar and liquor license -- can be yours for less than a quarter million.
That’s the pitch on Craigslist for the privately-owned parcel in Seneca with no known environmental hazards, several small buildings, scenic grounds along the Feather River and even an island -- all for just $225,000.
“Seneca is the real McCoy,” the Craigslist posting reads. “Historic. Very close to, or containing a historic Chinese-built gold mine. (Active gold mining today in the vicinity.) This deal includes several small buildings in various states of (dis)repair. It was home to the ‘Woodstock of the West’ in the 1970s -- thousands attended (we have a clipping somewhere).”
The deal includes all rights to minerals and timber from the land and boasts waterfront footage on both sides of the Feather River, the principal tributary of the Sacramento River, which saw a major influx of prospectors and settlers to the region during the 1849 California Gold Rush. It’s also the purported former stomping ground of Ishi, the last known member of the Yahi people of California, who was known as the “last wild Indian” before he died in 1916.
“Possibly THE last private acreage within a National Forest,” the ad continues. “(Not many liquor licenses in the region, either.) A big tree is growing up through the porch of the bar. The public access dirt road from both north and south is one of the most scenic in the USA.”
The northern access road, according to the pitch, is “darn scary” and features 1,000-foot drops into a gorge. The southern access road, meanwhile, is easier trekking in winter or poor weather conditions.
Potential buyers should be familiar with rural living and expect to wait a few days to see the property, as the owner lives a long way from the town.
Formerly North Fork, Seneca is an unincorporated community in Plumas County at an elevation of 3,625 feet. Gold was reportedly found in the region in 1851, prompting the boom of a wild mining town that once boasted a dance hall, livery, blacksmith and a hotel with solar-heated showers. The largest gold nugget found in Seneca was reportedly 42 ounces, worth $28,000 in 1942 -- or roughly $394,000 in today’s economy. Its post office originally opened in 1902 before closing in 1918, then re-opening five years later. It finally moved in 1941 before closing for good in 1943.