Purchase photos

Monumental sale continues

9/5/2012

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

The auction of the ranch surrounding historic Monument Rocks took a three-day vacation, giving time for the remaining four bidders to consider the extent of their interest.

"It took a break over the Labor Day weekend," auctioneer Mark Faulkner said of the sale of 12,900 acres of land making up the Pyramid Ranch in Gove County.

Initially, Faulkner suggested the winning bid might be known before the start of the Labor Day weekend, but that turned out not to be the case.

Initial bids for the Pyramid Ranch ended Aug. 28. Bidding actually was extended two weeks, after changes were made in the bidding process.

It's been a high-profile process, but only because the ranch contains the limestone spires that are a National Natural Monument. It's also one of the state's 8 Wonders of Kansas, an honor Monument Rocks shares with Castle Rock on the east side of Gove County.

But the ranch also contains trails from the Butterfield Overland Despatch stagecoach line and one of the stage stations built to provide a stopping-off point.

The impending sale has renewed public interest in the site, amid concerns a new owner might restrict access to the site. A major Gove County road, however, intersects the spires, so they won't be completely out of sight.

What access restrictions are made will depend on the new buyer, once one prevails.

Instead, Ulysses-based Faulkner thinks a final bid might be submitted sometime today, depending, of course, on how tenacious remaining bidders are.

As the bidding started back up Tuesday, the top bid was $8.5 million -- more than double what it was a week ago.

That's almost $659 an acre.

"We had six guys bidding," Faulkner said. "Two have dropped out."

While the bidding is taking place via telephone, it's virtually the same as an auction.