Going, going .... Bidding closes for California gold mining ghost town

Time has just about run out to get your bid in on Craigslist for a real live gold mine and the ghost town surrounding it.

Bidding, which began in November and did not exactly spark a rush, has reached $240,000, according to the owners of the 12-acre town in northeastern California, complete with a bar and rundown cabins. And since they were hoping for just $10,000 more than that, they figure it could be time to shut it down.

"We initially asked for $250,000 but didn't get many bites," Jeff Potter said. "But then we lowered the price to $225,000 and the emails started rolling in."

Potter's uncle, Tim Ten Brink, and a friend have owned the parcel known as Seneca, Calif., since purchasing the land for $60,000 after discovering it on a hunting trip in 1975. It sits along the Feather River, which was used by gold miners and fished on by President Harry Truman. But despite its history, real estate agents balked at the idea of listing the property due to its location and condition, Potter told FoxNews.com.

"These agents thought it was the most harebrained idea they ever heard," Potter said.


They decided to take matters into their own hands and try to strike gold in a more modern way, by posting the property on Craigslist.

The media picked up on the story and the calls began to pour in. Since November, they vetted bidders and now have four potential buyers within the $240,000 range. He doesn't have a deadline for the deal, but it appears to be closing shortly.

"It's difficult to say good bye, but my uncle is ailing and can't take care of it anymore," Potter, who lives in Michigan, said. "He used to make some income from the bar."

The bar is perhaps as mysterious as the land around it. It was there gold miners would count their riches or curse their luck. Potter remembers as a young man sitting in the bar with a few other men. When the bar thinned out, one miner held up a mason jar filled to the brim with the precious metal.

"You've never felt anything so heavy," he said.

The Craigslist ad touted the property as “possibly THE last private acreage within a National Forest,” and called the northern road leading to the property "darn scary," which features 1,000-foot drops into a gorge. The southern access road, meanwhile, is easier trekking in winter or poor weather conditions.

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.

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.

Potter said his uncle hopes the buyer will preserve the land and cringes at some of the ideas for the place (which include a haunted house tour). But he said his uncle and his partner will likely take the highest bidder.

"It has tremendous publicity value, and I hope the new owner fixes up the place," Potter said.