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Ghost Town Johnsonville in East Haddam off the Market

Two decades after it was left deserted, a Connecticut ghost town is off the market. Johnsonville Village sits in the Moodus section of East Haddam. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the village’s owner, Raymond Schmitt, turned it into a Victorian Village tourist attraction, complete with a restaurant, stables, a large lake, and a chapel. The property changed hands several times since, but the most recent owners held onto the 62-acre site for 13-years.

Two weeks ago, a Los Angeles buyer, representing the Iglsesia Ni Cristo Church, flew in to see the site. Friday, Iglesia Ni Cristo Church signed the paperwork to become the new owners.

The church originated in the Philippines but now has congregations in all 50 states and in countries around the world.

“We purchase land all the time. We purchase different areas to make a chapel or purchase a building to renovate it,” explained Clifford Stirba, a member of the church’s Windham congregation, one of three that already exist in Connecticut. The congregation says it hopes to make it a location where the community can connect with each other and with God.

The Johnsonville Village name will likely stay, at least for now. The new owners say they’re still making final decisions about that and any future development of the property. Their first priority is to clean-up and restore the existing buildings.