MYSTERY WIRE — Have you ever wanted to own an entire town? Now’s your chance. Nipton, California is a historic railroad town with a colorful past that was supposed to be transformed into a cannabis retreat. But that dream never materialized and the whole town is now back on the market.
Nipton, which is also known as Magical Nipton, is tucked away in the Ivanpah Valley, near the California-Nevada state line close to Las Vegas.
It has railroad tracks on one side and a massive Joshua tree forest on the other. Nipton feels both old and new at the same time.
The tiny desert town attracts star gazers, motorcycle riders, photographers, railroad buffs, and others seeking to escape city life, if just for a day.
Nipton made news a few years ago when a large cannabis company bought the town and planned to turn it into a marijuana-themed retreat. The plans fell through so the town reverted back to its longtime owners, who are again looking for just the right buyer.
Stephen Shearin arrived in 2017 as a consultant for American Green, a large cannabis company that bought the town for $5 million three years ago.
The company had ambitious plans to turn it into a cannabis retreat. It spent a lot of money on infrastructure, built several eco-cabins, comfy teepees for visitors, installed massive public art pieces, and did restoration work on some of the historic structures. But the cannabis retreat didn’t materialize, so the town reverted to its previous owner.
Stefan fell in love with Nipton, and is now the unofficial town manager. “So what they get is 80 acres. [It includes] the general store here, the trading post, the Whistle Stop Cafe over here, and the hotel which has five rooms. There are five eco-cabins, and then 10 sites out there that had teepees on them.”
There’s also a RV park, a historic schoolhouse, and spectacular art exhibits connected to the famous Burning Man event.
Nipton has an estimated 15 – 20 full time residents, and normally a few more visitors looking to drop off the grid for a while.
It started as the crossroads for two different wagon trails and a mining camp. The railroad built it into a town in 1905 and it became a center for area cattle ranchers, including Hollywood royalty Rex Bell and Clara Bow.
The two owned the Walking Box Ranch just down the road and now the hotel has the Clara Bell room. And yes, some say the hotel is also haunted and claim they have felt the presence of Clara Bow in her namesake room.
Roxanne Lang is the current owner of Nipton and shared her history with the town.
Her late husband Jerry Freeman worked and lived in Ivanpah Valley for over 50 years. Freeman came to Nipton in the 60’s on the Union Pacific Railroad line from Los Angeles.
He was staking gold mining claims on the weekend when he was in graduate school at UCLA. He had previously earned a geology degree from Cal Tech.
It took him 20 years to establish a publicly-traded gold mining company, Vanderbilt Gold, in Ivanpah Valley. He then started growing jojoba and bio-mass fuel plants in Ivanpah Valley in the 1980’s.
During this time he purchased Nipton, which led to him convincing Lang to leave her home in Malibu and head east. Land said Freeman’s vision for Nipton was sustainability. Freeman did this by building a solar plant for the community, the first in Ivanpah Valley.
At one point in time, Nipton was called the most energy independent town in America and was featured in a New York Times article about going green.
Freeman passed away in 2016. The inscription on his tombstone tells his story: Visionary Extraordinaire, Builder of teepees, towns and treasures. Captain of the desert and the sea.
Currently, Nipton is listed for sale at $2.75 million.