Only a high-stakes Las Vegas entertainment company would buy a whole desert town and convert it into a “circus town.” Spiegelworld, known for its glitzy shows that are somewhere between burlesque and acrobatic productions, bought the tiny town of Nipton, California, for $2.5 million in 2022. Spiegelworld plans to turn Nipton into the center of its operations — and a day trip destination for tourists.
Nipton has a current population of about 24. The 80-acre town includes a five-room hotel (built around 1905) often visited by silent film star Clara Bow, an original family home, and a general store, town hall, and schoolhouse.
Where Is It?
Nipton is about an hour from Las Vegas, on the northeast border of the Mohave National Preserve. Located in the Ivanpah Valley (San Bernardino County), Nipton was founded in 1905 as a mining camp. The town’s location on a freight railway line also made it a well-used cattle-loading station for local ranchers.
Spiegelworld executives have had to explain their purchase because it doesn’t seem to fit with their usual venues. One of its executives, Ross Mollison, said that Nipton reminded him of his native Australia. He was attracted to the town because it is peaceful and offers fantastic desert vistas. In addition, the people he chatted with (train drivers, miners, and workers) were friendly and down to earth.
The Town Has A Quirky History
The town had several owners before Spiegelworld bought it. Nipton was bought in the 1980s by Californian Jerry Freeman, who wanted to surprise his wife, Roxanne Lang. They owned the town until 2016 when it was sold to cannabis company American Green Inc.
When American Green stopped paying Lang, she foreclosed and reclaimed the town. Lang relisted Nipton for $2.8 million in 2021. Interested buyers were a motley crew: crypto investors, apparent religious cult leaders, a group wanting to establish a “party train” from Las Vegas, and a Brazilian investment group. You can guess how those negotiations went! Finally, in early 2022, Lang accepted Spiegelworld’s $2.5 million offer.
Changes Are Already Happening
Spiegelworld’s creative team, led by comic artists, will head to Nipton next month to develop design ideas to celebrate the Formula 1 Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Demolition and construction have already started, and the crews are working with current residents during the overhaul. Spiegelworld has removed at least 250 tons of refuse so far.
This effort has not been without hiccups; the crews have had to work around damaged infrastructure like faulty old electrical systems, clogged septic tanks, and many castoffs in odd places. There is even a half-buried railroad car that needs to be moved.
Some aspects of Nipton are evidently sacrosanct. Spiegelworld’s purchase agreement stipulates that Nipton’s defacto mayor, Jim Eslinger, must remain. Eslinger has lived in Nipton for 14 years.
About The Entertainment Company
Spiegelworld has produced many popular “edgy” Las Vegas shows. These include Absinthe, OPM, and Atomic Saloon Show. Tickets for those shows can be purchased here. In addition, in June 2023, Spiegelworld will open The Hook in Atlantic City.
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