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Lawyer who owns town of Story lists it for $3.8 million

April 8, 2019

A rustic southern Indiana town that was established in 1851 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places is up for sale. Its attorney owner has set an asking price of $3.8 million.

The Brown County town of Story is 17.4 acres of property, including a historic general store, an old grain mill, numerous barns, rental cabins and outbuildings that include two 19th-century privies, The Herald-Times reported.

Rick Hofstetter bought the town at a sheriff’s sale 20 years ago and restored the properties. In March, the town was registered on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We now want to assure the town’s continued survival with an orderly transition into safe hands,” Hofstetter said.

The 62-year-old lawyer noted he plans to continue operating the Story Inn as a lessee/tenant.

“The town’s fortunes should be decoupled from our hospitality operations,” he explained recently. “Macy’s doesn’t own the mall.”

Jacob and Kate Ebel help Hofstetter run the Story Inn, the state’s oldest country inn and the village’s sole employer.

“We wanted to put the town into safe hands with appropriate restrictive covenants and keep the business running pretty much the way it is,” general manager Jacob Ebel said.

A news release announcing the sale describes Story as “the best surviving example of a 19th-century pioneer logging/farming community in the American Midwest.”

Hofstetter said he recognizes that most things can be bought online, but “there is at least one item which even Amazon is not offering these days at any price: yes, the entire town of Story, Indiana.”

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