Until just recently, you could have bought the entire town of Scenic, South Dakota, for under $800,000. It was once a Wild West town, founded in 1906, and comes with a saloon, dance hall, museum, bunkhouse, two stores, a train depot, and two jails, although we saw only one. Population: nine.
However, a Filipino church called Iglesia Ni Cristo, or Church of Christ, just beat you to it.
We first heard about Scenic from a New Zealand couple at breakfast in Rapid City one morning. Intrigued by photography potential, we drove out on Highway 27 to get a look. Here’s what we found:
The Longhorn Saloon. When I took the photo, I didn’t take time to read the sign. Was startled to later read, “Indians Welcome. . . Lakota,” then indecipherable words. I don’t know if that meant only those tribes were welcome? Lakota refers to part of a confederation of seven related Sioux tribes and speak Lakȟóta, one of the three major dialects of the Sioux language.
In case you were wondering, those are indeed skulls on top of the place.
I thought Longhorns were only in Texas, but I’m no ranching expert.
Next up, the jail.
I think it looks more like a dog kennel.
A general store.
Scenic has been owned for years by former rodeo queen Twila Merril, who was originally asking three million for the town. After a story about the sale appeared in the Rapid City Journal, CNN, ABC News, Forbes and Time covered it.
I’m not sure what this building is, but I like the way it looks against the prairie. This shows just how remote the area is. After all, it’s located next to this:
The Badlands of South Dakota. A beautiful, desolate place. The best time to take photos is at sunset, but we had limited time, and to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t want to be there near dark. We saw only a handful of cars the whole time we were there, and it’s nothing but highway and rock formations. I’ve been a city person for so long, all the wide open spaces kind of spook me now. That doesn’t stop me from appreciating the beauty, though. . . .