Marlboro sells its 'Disneyland for smokers' Montana faux-ghost town

Marlboro sells its 'Disneyland for smokers' Montana faux-ghost town
Marlboro sells its 'Disneyland for smokers' Montana faux-ghost town

The biggest cigarette maker in America sold its 18,000-acre Montana property that was once home to the Marlboro Ranch - a 'Disneyland for smokers'.  

The tobacco giant's subsidiary Philip Morris USA bought the ranch in Clyde Park, a town with only 288 residents, in 1999 as a relationship marketing strategy. Every year since 350 loyal customers have won an all-expenses-paid trip to visit the 'Old Western Town' for four days and three nights. 

Also in 1999 Philip Morris USA - a division of American tobacco corporation Altria - had to bid adieu to its Marlboro Man ads in the wake of new state laws against big tobacco companies. But the working ranch kept the Marlboro Man and all the other cowboys, horses and snowy peaks of the Rockies alive. 

The infamous Marlboro Ranch was a faux ghost town complete with 20 buildings including a two-story hotel, mining office, bank, sheriff's office and saloon. 

Two decades later Philip Morris sold the property in June to Lone Mountain Land Co, a subsidiary of a private-equity firm, for an undisclosed price, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Philip Morris USA - the biggest cigarette maker in America - has sold its 18,000-acre Montana property dubbed a 'Disneyland for smokers'. Up until its closure, every year since its opening in 1999, loyal customers could win an all-expense-paid trip to visit the 'Old Western Town' for four days and three nights

Philip Morris USA - the biggest cigarette maker in America - has sold its 18,000-acre Montana property dubbed a 'Disneyland for smokers'. Up until its closure, every year since its opening in 1999, loyal customers could win an all-expense-paid trip to visit the 'Old Western Town' for four days and three nights

The tobacco company had to bid adieu to its Marlboro Man ads in the wake of new state laws against big tobacco companies but the working ranch kept the Marlboro Man and all the other cowboys, horses and snowy peaks of the Rockies alive

The tobacco company had to bid adieu to its Marlboro Man ads in the wake of new state laws against big tobacco companies but the working ranch kept the Marlboro Man and all the other cowboys, horses and snowy peaks of the Rockies alive

The Marlboro Ranch was a faux ghost town complete with 20 buildings including a two-story hotel, mining office, bank, sheriff's office and saloon

The Marlboro Ranch was a faux ghost town complete with 20 buildings including a two-story hotel, mining office, bank, sheriff's office and saloon

Guests were greeted with a welcome basket on their beds filled with Stetson hats, cowboy boots, jackets, bandannas, digital cameras, sunglasses and ashtrays. In earlier years guests were also gifted a pack of cigarettes

Guests were greeted with a welcome basket on their beds filled with Stetson hats, cowboy boots, jackets, bandannas, digital cameras, sunglasses and ashtrays. In earlier years guests were also gifted a pack of cigarettes

The Marlboro Ranch's hotel hosted 350 guests annually up until its closure. Philip Morris USA's parent company, Altria, also used to hold board meetings there

The Marlboro Ranch's hotel hosted 350 guests annually up until its closure. Philip Morris USA's parent company, Altria, also used to hold board meetings there

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Each new structure was made with reclaimed materials and furnished with antiques scavenged from around the region

Each new structure was made with reclaimed materials and furnished with antiques scavenged from around the region

Architect Nick Fullerton and his team carefully constructed the facades of each building so that they would hide modern plumbing and electrical wiring

Architect Nick Fullerton and his team carefully constructed the facades of each building so that they would hide modern plumbing and electrical wiring

Back in the day winning guests would receive a duffel bag and cap before their flight to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. The hats helped travelers identify others headed to the ranch.

The architect behind the town, Nick Fullerton, said that the 90-minute drive from the airport to the town 'takes you out of this world that we're in today, and kind of prepares you for the sight once you get there'.

When Fullerton and his team were called to construct the town in 1999 they first salvaged the remains of crumbling homesteads on the property, then they built new structures and furnished them with antiques scavenged from around the

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