Mental Floss
REAL ESTATE

You Can Buy One Square Inch of Hell—a Tiny Town in Michigan

Jake Rossen
A slice of Hell can be yours.
A slice of Hell can be yours. / Bill Pugliano/GettyImages
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Few small towns have mastered the side hustle quite like Hell, Michigan. The swatch of property (pop. 72) located 15 miles northwest of Ann Arbor that will make you mayor for a day for $100 is now offering to sell 1 square inch of the incorporated community for $9.99.

Hell’s origins, though murky, appear to involve a general store owner named George Reeves (not the Superman actor) who settled there in 1838 and was fond of paying farmers for their grain with some moonshine. Wives apparently observed their imbibing and would say that their disappearing husbands had “gone to Hell again” after going to see Reeves.

The name has led Hell’s city officials to traffic in a variety of businesses, including the aforementioned mayor (don’t worry: you’d be impeached at the end of the day) as well as Damnation University, or “Dam U,” diplomas, and a variety of Hell-branded merchandise. Couples may opt to get married in Hell, as the community also has a wedding chapel.

The property ownership comes with a non-warranty deed recognizing the purchaser as laying claim to “a square inch of Hell on Earth,” which “goes straight down to an undetermined depth.”

Purchasers should be advised that a non-warranty deed doesn’t make any guarantees about the property’s ownership history, meaning there’s no absolute certainty about the right to transfer. So if you plan to buy a little slice of Hell and then contest, say, someone building on it, you might be out of luck.

Hell was previously put up for sale in its entirety back in 2016 with an asking price of $900,000. A group calling itself Damned attempted to raise the funds on Kickstarter but fell short.

According to The Detroit News, Hell’s “self-proclaimed mayor,” John Colone, owns several businesses in Hell and was once zipped up into a body bag while serving in Vietnam after being shot.

If you’re intrigued by sinister names, be sure to check out Frankenstein, Missouri, and Satan’s Kingdom State Recreation Area near New Hartford, Connecticut. Or, you could just go to Hell.

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