WATER VALLEY, Tenn. — Nestled down a country road lined with sprawling fields and the occasional farmhouse is a defunct town called Water Valley. The tiny historical plot of the long-forgotten town core is for sale for $725,000.
With that comes a barn, an apartment and four old stores, which were the lifeblood of the small country town south of Nashville.
Christa Swartz, the real estate agent representing the listing, told USA TODAY that the town has garnered attention across the country. On Monday afternoon, she had already received over 200 calls about the property on that day alone.
“The interest is just ridiculously through the roof,” she said. “People are coming out of the woodwork all over the country with an interest in this little former town.”
Swartz said most of the calls are from individuals interested in the property, but she has heard from television networks and “movies that are interested in trying to perhaps use it for a set.”
And many are comparing the listing to the popular television show “Schitt’s Creek,” in which a wealthy family loses all of their money and assets other than a small town they purchased.
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“About every second or third caller mentions, ‘Yes we wanted our own little Schitt’s Creek,’” Swartz said.
She noted that Water Valley is not a functioning town, like “a city or a town that is still incorporated with its own post office box still working.” But the next owners would still have a “whole lot of freedom of what you could do with it.”
“Yes, you could decide you are your own mayor,” Swartz said.
“You can be whatever you want to be in this town because it would all be yours, but it wouldn’t have any rules or restrictions, other than just what the county would dictate for anyone living in that county,” she added.
A step back in time
The town was once famous for its orchard trees, but when a fungus carried by cedar trees was introduced to the area, they all died. Original apple boxes are still in one of the stores, tucked away in a storage area.
Walking into the old general stores is a step back in time.
The benches out front, where old men would sit and gossip, beckon you to rest. The original counters welcome you in on either side of the store, and the shelves are still lined with original advertisements for products, including Vick’s VapoRub, which would’ve been cutting edge medicinal care when it was sold to patrons.
The doorframe is filled with cursive scrawled in pencil chronicling the heights of different town children. The original cash register is tucked away, and the highest amount a clerk could enter was a whopping $1.
It’s rural enough that the only sound you’re likely to hear is the hum of cicadas, the bubbling of a fish-filled creek and maybe the quack of a nearby neighbor’s duck. But it was once a bustling stop for the Middle Tennessee Railroad. The road that takes you to what’s left of Water Valley lies on top of the old railroad bed.
“This was the hub for that train that came through here,” said Swartz. But when the railroad was ripped out in the early 1930s, that was the death knell for Water Valley, she said.
Swartz is fascinated by the late 1800s property, and she’s been elated to piece together the town’s history for prospective buyers.
“It’s interesting because it’s preserved history. It’s from more than 100 years ago, a little town that was fully functioning and has somehow miraculously been preserved all these years without being updated and changed completely that looks like you’re walking back in time when you go there,” she said.
“That’s part of the reason why we would hope the next owners would recognize this is so unusual,” she added. “Don’t defile it by changing it into something modern.”
For more information about the property, contact Swartz.
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