For less than the asking price of The most expensive house in Indianapolisyou can own an entire Indiana town just an hour’s drive south.
Story, Ind., an abandoned 19th century wedding destination turned 21st century village is on the market for $3.8 million.
It’s not every day that a village hits the market, but Story isn’t exactly your average village. Now recognized as the “Story Historic District,” the unincorporated community originated in the mid-1800s, when Dr. George Story was granted 173 acres by President Millard Fillmore, according to Dark Atlas.
Over the next few years, businesses sprang up and Story’s population grew, though it never exceeded 175, according to The ChicagoTribune. Things were going well for several decades, but the village fell on hard times after the turn of the last century. The town’s post office closed in 1909 and Story “slowly faded” into the 1920s, according to their National Register of Historic Places listing form. Access was limited with the advent of Brown County State Park in 2019 and all but cut off when Monroe Reservoir was created in 1960, the record says.
For some ghost towns, this is where the story ends. But Story’s luck turned in the late ’70s, when a couple bought first the general store and then the whole town, according to the Grandstand. They left in the early 90s and Rick Hofstetter, an Indianapolis lawyer, bought the town a few years later, the Grandstand said.
Today, the 14 buildings that stand on Story’s 17.4-acre property are centered around tourism — and its remoteness is something of a draw. “One Inconvenient Location Since 1851,” announces the homepage of the History Inn, the rustic retreat co-owned by Hofstetter that hosts guests and weddings. The remains of the settlement’s century-old buildings – from the sawmill to the guest cabins – add to the experience of everyday life in a 150-year-old village. As for residents, the town’s population stands at three humans – Hofstetter and his inn co-owners, Jacob and Kate Ebel – and four dogs, according to the Northwest Indiana Time.
While the land is for sale, Hofstetter says the hostel will continue to operate independently on a lease. “Macy’s does not own the mall,” he told the Hoosier times, explaining his decision to separate the bed and breakfast from the city. “The Story Inn will continue to operate as in the past, but as a tenant/tenant,” Hofstetter told the newspaper.