A couple purchased an entire US town with gas station for $360,000

  • The town of Wauconda in Washington went up for sale on eBay
  • When the leading bid fell through, Neal and Maddie Love purchased the town for $360,000
  • Wauconda came complete with a general store, gas station, cafe, post office, and four bedroom house

Published on Jun 11, 2024 at 11:28 AM (UTC+4)
by Claire Reid

Last updated on Jun 11, 2024 at 11:39 AM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

A couple once bought an entire town – Wauconda in Washington – complete with a gas station, general store, and a post office for just $360,000.

In 2010, four-acre Wauconda was listed on eBay by then-owner Daphne Fletcher who decided she wanted to sell up and move on.

The listing read: “Why buy a house when you can OWN YOUR OWN TOWN! Own the Post Office, OWN YOUR OWN ZIP CODE … Single owner is tired and ready to retire … VERY LOW RESERVE PRICE OF $359,000 … Please bid only if you will honor it. …”

READ MORE! Man who bought a ghost town for $1.4 million documents his unique situation

Couple snapped up the US town

The unusual sale soon hit headlines and more than 100 bids came in – however, once the auction closed the leading bid collapsed. 

This meant US couple Neal and Maddie Love were able to swoop in and snap themselves up an entire town for $360,000.

Alongside the gas station, store, and post office, Wauconda also has a cafe and a four-bedroom house. 

In order to buy Wauconda – which has its own postcode: 98859 – the couple sold their home and almost all of their belongings. 

Understandably, the couple admitted to being daunted by the project. 

In an interview with the Seattle Times in 2010, Maddie said: “We’re terrified. Neal almost puked the other night when we signed the paperwork. 

“Honest to God’s truth, we’re selling everything we own. We’re coming here with just the clothes on our backs.”

Nonetheless, they were delighted with their buy, telling the publication: “You can look up and see the Milky Way. It’s God’s country. 

“You can hear the coyotes and wolves.”

Did it all work out for the Loves?

Sadly, for the Loves the dream of owning their own town didn’t work out. 

Shortly after taking over the town, they were forced to close both the store and the cafe because the town’s main water source – a local well – had to be replaced. 

In an interview with the BBC in 2015, Maddie says the couple later discovered that they had paid ‘a lot more than the property was worth at the time’. 

She went on to reveal that they were preparing to sell up and move to North Dakota where Neal could find a steady, well-paying job – something he wasn’t able to do in Wauconda. 

She told the news outlet: “It has been a labor of love and hate. If we had to do it again, I don’t know if we would.”

The Loves aren’t the only people to buy themselves a town – in 2019, Brent Underwood acquired an abandoned mountain mining town in California.

# Tags - House, Lifestyle


Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist who hails from the UK but is now living in New Zealand. She began her career after graduating with a degree in Journalism from Liverpool John Moore’s University and has more than a decade of experience, writing for both local newspapers and national news sites. Across her career she's covered a wide variety of topics, including celebrity, cryptocurrency, politics, true crime and just about everything in between.