A Connecticut ghost town sits abandoned along the state’s namesake river, complete with a post office, a church, a bank and a smattering other Victorian-era structures. The quaint hamlet of Johnsonville, once a flourishing mill town, is now on the market for $1.9 million.
Sherri Milkie, the real estate agent handling the listing, hopes to see the tiny town in East Haddam resettled after after 20 years of quiet. Founded in 1802, Johnsonville last served as the historical hobby of a wealthy and eccentric industrialist named Raymond Schmitt, she said.
Schmitt expanded the property and relocated several period-appropriate buildings to the land. The beautiful three-story barn came from Vermont, Milkie said, while the meeting hall and general store came from within Connecticut.
A schoolhouse and a livery stable helped round out the old-timey buildings that sat around Johnsonville Mill Pond, which today sit in varying states of repair.
The Neptune Twine and Cord Mill Factory, which first anchored the village in the early 1800s, burned down in 1972. The home of Emory Johnson, the mill’s founder, sits on the property to this day.
The town’s idyllic nature lent itself to several on-screen appearances, as Vice noted, including the music video for Billy Joel’s 1993 single “The River of Dreams,” as well as the Cuba Gooding Jr. film Freedom and the horror movie Deep in Darkness. A National Geographic show called Abandoned explored Jonsonville as well.
Schmitt occasionally opened Johnsonville to the public and rented it out for private events before his death in 1998, the Hartford Courant reported. Meyer Jabara Hotels, a Connecticut-based group, picked up the property a few years later with visions of turning it into a retirement community. A rough economy dashed that idea, and now it’s up for sale again.
Potential suitors for Johnsonville so far include an well-known Los Angeles musician who envisions the village as a healing and wellness center, a local brewery interested in a farm-to-table restaurant and event space and Wiccan followers looking at a rustic space for worship, Milkie said.
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