Lonely Planet Writer

A father and son have bought the historic Wyoming town of Aladdin for just $500k

On Friday last the town of Aladdin, Wyoming, with a population of just 15 went up for auction. Tucked away in the northeastern part of the state, just six hours from Denver, the town is a popular stop on the motorcycle route toward the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Black Hills Forest Park
Aladdin is close to Black Hills National Forest Park. Image by Getty.

Included in the sale were almost all of the commercial properties in town, including a café, post office, motel, gas station and a store dating back to the 19th century. The entire parcel of land is just under 30 acres. The town was originally up for sale at a price of $1.5 million, but no buyers were found until last Friday when Lee Rude and his father Maynard made a successful bid of $500,000 for the property.

Aladdin was previously owned by Judy and Rick Brengle and Rick said that while he was disappointed at the low selling price, the sale was aimed at maintaining the historical town as a going concern. One part of the town that didn’t sell on the day was Cindy B’s Café and the Aladdin Motel, but the owners were hopeful that a deal could still be done.

Aladdin isn’t the first Wyoming hamlet to go up for auction. In 2012, Buford (pop. 1) went up for sale and was purchased by a Vietnamese businessman for $900,000. But recently, money troubles have plagued the small town. The owner, Nguyen Dinh Pham gave the town its new name after his coffee business PhinDeli. Pham doesn’t actually live in the tiny town, but he is described as having achieved ‘rock star’ status for owning Buford in his native Ho Chi Minh City where he wears a Stetson hat and is known as ‘the mayor.’

What’s near Aladdin, Wyoming?

Just over the border with South Dakota, the Black Hills National Forest is the region’s most popular travel destination, home to Mt Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and the town of Deadwood, among other adventures. Over six hours west, Yellowstone National Park features nearly 3500 sq miles of wilderness and recreation area.