A man, who was the owner of the town last 20 years, Don Sammons, served with the U.S. Army as a radio operator in 1968-69. 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. “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.
“I’m happy and I’m sad all at once,” said Sammons. “But I’m more happy than sad because this is all I wanted.”
“I can continue and start the next chapter of my life,” he said, adding that he planned to go someplace with sandy beaches and “maybe a palm tree” for a week or two before writing a book about his life in Buford, writes The Telegraph.
He kept on talking: “I felt my time here has been very happy for me, and hopefully the new owner will be able to enjoy what I’ve enjoyed over the years — conversations with people, the uniqueness of the area and so on — and keep the history alive.”
After meeting the buyer, Mr Sammons said it was hard for him to grasp the irony of the situation. “I think it’s funny how things come full circle,” he said.
A new owner attended the auction in person but refused to meet with the media and wished to remain anonymous. Sammons and others involved in the auction would not discuss the buyer’s plans for Buford.
Previously the former railroad stop was home to about 2,000 people. But they started moving away after train service ended, until the sign at the entrance to town read, “Buford. Population: 1.”
Williams & Williams Co. of Tulsa, Okla., has conducted the auction on a sunny, windy day outside the trading post, which has been closed since Dec. 31. The number of bidders was not released.
As CBS News reports, dozens of people, including residents who live in remote areas and get their mail at the outdoor post office boxes on the property, showed up for the event.
Officials with Williams & Williams stood out in their business suits among the locals dressed in jeans and western attire.
Gary Crawford, who lives about 4.5 miles northeast of the trading post — “Post Office Box 7” — said the trading post is important to the surrounding residents who mostly live on widely scattered ranches.
“At different times, this has been a community gathering place where you caught up with your neighbors and shoot the breeze, learn what’s going on, who is around,” Crawford said.
He added that he looked forward to meeting the new owner. “I think we may have very nice, new neighbors,” he said.