NAME: Monse
COUNTY: Okanogan
CLIMATE: Snow in winter
COMMENTS: There are some residents. The town became a semi-ghost town, and was put up for auction on E-Bay. The price was $ 565,000, which was later raised. No one opted to buy up the entire town. See the Bio for more details.
REMAINS: Seven houses, a post office, a general store, a schoolhouse, a public boat launch, 100 parcels, fiber optics, railroad access, water rights and a bridge
It was a sweet deal: $575,000 for 60 acres that included seven houses, an old schoolhouse, a general store and post office, all platted into 100 parcels for anyone who wanted to remake their own little town. And Doty was the perfect person to sell it. She grew up in Brewster, but often visited Monse as a child, and remembered it as a bustling farm community. "I was here a lot. We'd go swimming in the river, and we'd ride our bikes right here, and play," she said. Her father would socialize on the front porch of the general store while her mother went fishing in the nearby Okanogan River. The press compared this tiny North Central Washington town with Bridgeville, Calif., which had recently sold on eBay for $1.8 million, and other towns that had been for sale in their entirety. But despite the widespread publicity, Monse never sold. Doty said it wasn't for lack of interest. And she certainly tried hard enough. She had several serious offers that could have rejuvenated the town: Two were from nonprofit groups; one wanted to build a center for domestic violence victims, the other was looking for a place for underprivileged children. There were also individual buyers and developers who wanted to build a summer camp, an executive retreat, and a community for senior citizens. The deals including one that fell through on closing day just didn't quite work out for a variety of reasons. "The money wasn't there. The bank said, 'No.' They couldn't negotiate the right price," Doty said. So eventually, the Van Dorens opted to split up the land and sell parcels separately. Doty said she's sold a handful of lots, including two larger pieces. Paul Hammons, a Seattle truck driver, moved his family here two years ago, after buying six acres on the Okanogan River, with a house and orchard. When the Hammonses moved in, the town's population jumped by 50 percent from eight to 12 residents. Hammons said he didn't consider buying the whole town, and he's not really surprised that no one else has. Another neighbor - a National Radio Astronomy Observatory station - scans the sky with an 82-foot-wide, 240-ton dish. A Brewster insurance agent bought the old schoolhouse, with its wooden plank floors and a leaky roof, and hopes to restore the old building one day. She keeps her horse on the land. Undaunted by the aesthetic challenges, Janet Jordan bought the circa-1900 schoolhouse and enough land for her two horses. The school rises two stories, covers about 1,800 square feet and features high ceilings and oak floors. "I'm nostalgic," Jordan said. "I'd love to restore that schoolhouse. A contractor told me it would be a labor of love." Doty said she really hoped to sell Monse as one piece, and watch a ghost town become rejuvenated, and wasn't happy that it's been split up. But Monse was not an easy sell. Flanked by orchards and in the shadow of a hillside of Comcast satellites, the town itself could use some fixing up. The buildings, though steeped in local history and charming to some, are old and dilapidated. The single-pane windows in the general store are broken out, and boarded up with siding from old apple boxes. Saplings have taken over a fenced-in yard, and are nearly as tall as the store roof. Weeds litter the 30 acres across the road that once teemed with fruit trees. To top it off, the asking price went up over the years, from $575,000 to $675,000, she said. Doty talks as if Monse is still for sale. And basically, she said, it is. Even though the land is now split up and ready to sell off in parcels. "They could buy a good share of it," Doty said, adding, "I know the right buyer is still out there." FURTHER READING --------------- & Submitted by: Marc Boulware