NIPTON, Calif. (KLAS) — The whole town of Nipton, CA has once again been sold, according to the realtor who represented the property. Many of the sale details are not yet being made public including the price. 8 News Now has been able to confirm it was bought by a group out of Las Vegas.
Nipton has railroad tracks on one side and a massive Joshua tree forest on the other in the Mojave National Preserve. The tiny desert town attracts star gazers, motorcycle riders, photographers, railroad buffs, and others seeking to escape city life, if just for a day.
The town currently has a population of 15 – 20 people. It has been sold several times before. In 2017 it was bought by a large cannabis company that for $5 million. The company tried to rebrand it as Magical Nipton. The company had ambitious plans to turn it into a cannabis retreat. It spent a lot of money on infrastructure, built several eco-cabins, comfy teepees for visitors, installed massive public art pieces, and did restoration work on some of the historic structures. But the cannabis retreat didn’t materialize, so the town reverted to its previous owner.
That was Roxanne Lang. She and her late husband Jerry Freeman worked and lived in Ivanpah Valley for over 50 years. Freeman came to Nipton in the 60’s on the Union Pacific Railroad line from Los Angeles.
Nipton was first founded in 1905, a few months before Las Vegas was founded. And similar to Las Vegas, Nipton came into existence when the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad arrived. It was the crossroads for two different wagon trails and a mining camp and it became a center for area cattle ranchers, including Hollywood royalty Rex Bell and Clara Bow.
The two owned the Walking Box Ranch just down the road and now the hotel has the Clara B room. And yes, some say the hotel is also haunted and claim they have felt the presence of Clara Bow in her namesake room.
Freeman was staking gold mining claims on the weekend when he was in graduate school at UCLA and had previously earned a geology degree from Cal Tech. It took him 20 years to establish a publicly traded gold mining company, Vanderbilt Gold, in Ivanpah Valley. He then started growing jojoba, which is also known as goat nut, deer nut, or pignut, and bio-mass fuel plants in the 1980’s.
During this time he purchased Nipton, which led to him convincing Lang to leave her home in Malibu and head east. Land said Freeman’s vision for Nipton was sustainability. Freeman did this by building a solar plant for the community, the first in Ivanpah Valley.
At one point in time, Nipton was called the most energy independent town in America and was featured in a New York Times article about going green.
Freeman passed away in 2016. The inscription on his tombstone tells his story: Visionary Extraordinaire, Builder of teepees, towns and treasures. Captain of the desert and the sea.