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For sale (again): used town

Twice up for auction on EBay, tiny, faltering Bridgeville is in need of another new owner.

July 02, 2007|From the Associated Press

BRIDGEVILLE, CALIF. — A Northern California town put up for auction twice on EBay is for sale again, but by more traditional means.

A real estate agent handling the sale confirmed Friday that the tiny Humboldt County town of Bridgeville, population about 30, is on the market for $1.3 million.

The picturesque but dilapidated village on the Van Duzen River gained international fame five years ago when its 83 acres were put on the cyber-auction block. It was believed to have been the first town ever up for auction on EBay.

The town, once a hub for a stagecoach route and a stop on the Pony Express, includes eight houses, a post office and a cafe.

Daniel La Paille, 25, a Los Angeles entertainment manager and college student, bought Bridgeville in August 2006 for $1.25 million from Orange County banker Bruce Krall.

Krall had purchased the former timber town for $700,000 after the high bidder in the original 2002 EBay auction backed out. Krall re-listed the town on EBay last year, saying he couldn't afford to continue restoration.

La Paille had raised hopes among residents when he brought in work crews to repair many of the town's homes and began building a park.

But in November he shot himself in the chest in Los Angeles, according to the L.A. County coroner's office.

"When Daniel passed away, it was just so devastating," said Rose Valentine, who lives just outside town. Bridgeville "is kind of looking pretty shabby again. It's pretty sad."

The burden of maintaining the town has proved too difficult for La Paille's family, said Bruce McNaughton, the real estate agent handling the sale.

The family probably will lose money on the transaction, he said.

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