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Vietnamese businessmen scoop up smallest U.S. town for $900,000

By Jim Spellman, CNN
updated 4:36 PM EDT, Thu April 5, 2012
Don Sammons lived in Buford for near 32 years and is moving to be close to his son.
Don Sammons lived in Buford for near 32 years and is moving to be close to his son.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two businessmen from Vietnam buy the nation's least populous town
  • Buford, Wyoming, sold for $900,000
  • The identities of the buyers are being kept secret
  • The lot includes 10 acres, five buildings and a cell phone tower

Buford, Wyoming (CNN) -- The population of the least populous town in the United States appeared to at least double Thursday when two mysterious businessmen from Vietnam won the tiny hamlet with a bid of $900,000 at auction.

About a dozen bidders gathered around the town's one business to bid on Buford, Wyoming, which consists of a gas station, a three-bedroom house and a few small outbuildings on 10 acres along Interstate 80.

The bidding began at $100,000 and quickly escalated. The winning bidders were immediately whisked away by auction officials, who would not let them speak to the media.

The town's only resident, Don Sammons, watched from the sidelines. He moved to Buford in 1980 with his wife and son. His wife died in 1995, and his son moved away in 2007. He had bought the town in 1990.

He fought back tears as the auctioneer declared the town sold.

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"I don't know when it will hit me. I've lived here half my life. I'm an emotional person, and I hope I handle it in an adult manner," he said.

Tonjah Andrews, a real estate broker from Cheyenne who was hired to represent the men, said she would not disclose their names. She said the men flew in from Vietnam after learning about the auction from online news stories.

She would not comment on what the men plan to do with the town.

Sammons bought a house in Windsor, Colorado, to be closer to his son and plans on writing a book about his 32 years in Buford.

He said he'll miss his one-man town, but one thing he won't miss is the billboard with his face on it that has become a familiar sight to drivers in Interstate 80. Buford is about halfway between Laramie and Cheyenne and is the second oldest town in the state.

"I can always rent one somewhere if I need to see my face," he said with a laugh.

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