Wyoming’s Smallest Town Has Been Completely Abandoned
The smallest town in America just got even smaller. The population of Buford, Wyo. recently went from one to zero.
Founded in 1866, Buford has two claims to fame; the iconic road sign reading "Population 1" and a marker commemorating its 8,000-feet elevation as the highest point on Interstate 80.
Near the turn of the 20th century, Buford boasted a population of 2,000. By the time Don Sammons moved there in 1980, the population had dwindled to seven. Sammons officially purchased the town in 1992. After his wife died and his son moved away, he was the only resident left in the city limits.
In 2012, Sammons put Buford on the auction block and Phạm Đình Nguyen paid $900,000 for the 9.9-acre property, which included a gas station, convenience store, and house. The Vietnamese businessman envisioned it as the perfect place to market his PhinDeli Coffee.
Although Nguyen owned Buford, he never lived there and only visited the area occasionally. Sammons ran the business for several years before Albany County native Jason Hirsh was hired to manage the store while his son and nephew helped maintain the property and lived on site. Around a year ago, Hirsh tendered his resignation and boarded up the windows.
Under the Phin Deli Town Burford sign, the storefront is now shuttered and the gas pumps have all been turned off. Meanwhile, the future of America's smallest town rests in the hands of an absentee owner 8,000 miles away.