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Rich enough to have your own town

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, September 3, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

Want to live in the perfect town? If you're rich enough, you can build your own version of Mayberry.

Billionaire Bill Koch did just that, by constructing an Old West-style town of about 50 buildings, including a saloon, church, jailhouse, firehouse, train station and livery in Gunnison County, Colo. His 22,000-square-foot mansion atop a hill, overlooking his creation, is in the planning stages. When complete, it will be the largest residence in the county.

The full-size buildings in town are not just for show -- the county approved a water treatment system. The town is in the middle of his 6,400-acre Bear Ranch and is for his own amusement and that of his invited guests. "It's like something out of a 'Gunsmoke' movie set," Ramon Reed, chairman of the Gunnison County Planning Commission, told the Denver Post.

The town will not be open to the general public, but historians will take an interest. Koch, estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $4 billion, plans to house his extensive collection of Old West memorabilia in the various buildings. He owns Jesse James' gun, Wyatt Earp's vest, Sitting Bull's rifle and a flag that belonged to Gen. George Custer. He paid $2.3 million at an auction last year for a photo of Billy the Kid. He also possesses bronzes by Frederic Remington and paintings by Charles Russell. Much of his collection was on display in a Palm Beach, Fla., museum this year. Koch's energy company, Oxbow Group, is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fla.

If you were as rich as Koch, would you build yourself a town?

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