When we charge again, for dear old Gary Owen.
August 12, 2011 7:28 AM   Subscribe

If Scenic, South Dakota isn't scenic enough for you, now you can have the opportunity to buy a chunk of Custer's Last Stand. The "town" of Garryowen is for sale on eBay, perched at the point where the Battle of the Little Bighorn came to a head.

Garryowen gets its name from Custer's favorite marching tune, the Irish quick-step "Garry Owen". Starting out as a railroad waystation, the land was sold by the Crow Reservation to a private owner in the early 20th century, and was little more than an old house and a post office when current owner Christopher Kortlander purchased it in 1993. The "town", on a lonely exit of I-90, consists primarily of one large building that houses a convenience store, post office (zip code 59031), Subway restaurant, the Elizabeth Custer library, and the Custer Battlefield Museum. This isn't, of course, the museum at the National Parks Service visitor center, just to the north of town, who has been having problems of its own.

The current owner of Garryowen tried to sell the town in 2008, but dealings with Heritage Auctions Inc broke down, resulting in lawsuits all around. It's not the only legal trouble that's happened in Garryowen: in 2005, the Bureau of Land Management searched the Custer Battlefield Museum for stolen artifacts.
posted by AzraelBrown (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Garryowen is about an hour's drive from my front my front door. Whenever I drive past (yes, always past) I automatically think of this. If you are "of a certain age" you probably would, too.
posted by The Deej at 7:36 AM on August 12, 2011 [4 favorites]

If I bought Garryowen, could I move the whole town to Beautiful Downtown Burbank?
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:44 AM on August 12, 2011 [8 favorites]

Whenever I see stuff like this on Ebay I assume the seller is desperate for a dummy buyer because there is something deeply wrong with it that everyone else knows about and the only way to sell it is by finding a rich Baron in Germany with an itchy mouse trigger.
posted by stbalbach at 7:46 AM on August 12, 2011

Call me when Donpardo is up for sale.
posted by Mcable at 7:51 AM on August 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

Is there a Space Ghost statue in the town square?
posted by inturnaround at 8:31 AM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Would love to buy this and hand it over to the Sioux and Cheyenne.
posted by theplotchickens at 9:05 AM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

I already live in Beautiful Downtown Burbank and we kind of have enough already, thx.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:00 AM on August 12, 2011

Way too spendy for MetaTown (which, BTW, I am completely obsessed with).
posted by Sophie1 at 10:03 AM on August 12, 2011

Garryowen is probably too expensive for MetaTown but MetaTown is still a great idea. Going back to the Scenic SD post from a couple of weeks ago, a little bit of googling indicated to me that (IMO) based on the price of acreage in SD, they were asking AT LEAST twice what it is worth. We should offer them 300 grand. I'd be in for at least a few shares.

...and don't say "It's not acreage, it's a town." It's barely a crossroads.
posted by lordrunningclam at 10:38 AM on August 12, 2011

The first thing in my mind at the name "Garryowen" is...

"So we turned into Barney Kiernan's and there sure enough was the citizen up in the corner having a great confab with himself and that bloody mangy mongrel, Garryowen, and he waiting for what the sky would drop in the way of drink."
posted by dnash at 11:42 AM on August 12, 2011

Ditto what theplotchickens said. Except I think the fed gov't should pay for it, and any descendents of Custer should be present at a presentation ceremony & apology.
posted by asfuller at 1:55 PM on August 12, 2011

theplotchickens, asfuller: The reservation did own Garryowen, but they sold it in the 1920s. I believe the Army owned the actual buildings on the Indian land and got paid something, too. Now, how well Indians were treated in land dealings in the 1920s, I can't vouch for. In fact, the Little Big Horn battlefield is located within the boundaries of the Crow Agency reservation.
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:09 PM on August 12, 2011

I was there in late June and the view from the last stand was breathtaking. It was one day after the anniversary and I imagine that the weather was similar, a perfect Montana summer day. The scent of sweet clover was over-powering but I suspect that Custer didn't really notice, considering he was surrounded by up to 2000 Lakota and Cheyenne, who were raining down arrows and bullets on him and the meager remains of his command.
posted by Ber at 3:53 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

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