The Victorian Ghost Town That Nobody Wants
By | October 30, 2016
Johnsonville, Connecticut may be completely void of human inhabitants at present, but a few licks of paint and a good spring clean you could be calling it home in no time!
The town has been vacant for more than 20 years and through its history, has been abandoned not once, not twice, but three times.
Nestled in the town of East Haddam, the village was a once prosperous mill town until the mid-20th century, when Raymond Schmitt, the owner of aerospace equipment manufacturer AGC Corporation, bought the property in the early 1960s with the hopes of converting it into a tourist attraction.
Schmitt had a love for victorian era architecture, so he decided to convert the town into a victorian village.
He purchased vintage buildings from other areas of the state and had them moved to Johnsonville, including a beautiful stable used to house his collection of antique horse-drawn carriages. The Gilead Chapel, a Carpenter Gothic style structure, was the site of many weddings in the 1980s.
But Schmitt’s idea of turning Johnsonville into a tourist attraction never took off and following ongoing disputes with local officials, the town was abandoned again after his death in 1998.
In 2001, Meyer Jabara bought the land, with plans to build a senior housing community.
But that project eventually fell through due to problems with the development plans. A local newspaper reported in 2006 that the project was delayed due to sewage issues, noting that "the closest sewer plant is more than three miles south, and town officials say there's not enough land to build on-site septic systems for the size and number of houses provided."
Damned, cursed, haunted? Who knows.
In 2014, Johnsonville went up for auction again with a starting bid of $800,000.
It sold for $1.9M, but the winning bidder was unable to close the deal. Now the historic ghost town is back on the market, asking $2.4M.
Until something happens, Johnsonville will remain a blank space on the Connecticut landscape.
The place is like someone else's memory of a certain time and place: Raymond Schmitt's ideal projection of a past that never really existed.