Bill’s neighbor had dangled the deal several years before. The property offered wasn’t quite next door to where Bill lived, but it was close. The land, from what Bill could tell, offered great views and had some ocean views. But Bill had other business that kept him from pursing the offer for some years. Finally, the other business settled, Bill turned again to the neighbor to see if the offer still stood.
Sure enough, the representative for the seller, one Mr. Stoeckl, said that, yes, the offer still stood. In fact, the price had come down because the neighbor was eager to sell. The neighbor was cash-strapped due to some other issues, and needed to get rid of the property as soon as possible. Bill, smelling a deal, moved to purchase the land.
Bill reached an agreement with Stoeckl, and the real estate deal was approved in April. By late May, the funds were made available and the paperwork was signed. Although the actual deed wasn’t returned until October, Bill was extremely happy with the purchase. But that’s when other people started to ridicule the purchase that Bill had worked.
People who heard about the real estate deal Bill had made began by saying that the land was actually unusable, even if it were pretty. They asked Bill if he had done his due diligence before the deal was struck. He had to answer that, no, he made the sale sight unseen. That made Bill’s enemies–and many of his friends–roll their eyes. Why would he buy land that had no value and that he had never laid eyes on? What would the land be used for, they asked. Bill answered with the answer most people have when buying land: They ain’t making any more of it. Still, he was laughed at and belittled for striking this real estate deal.
You might be wondering why Bill’s acquaintances would have any business minding his business. Why would they care? Well, you see, Bill actually used their money to make the buy. And when you spend over $7,000,000 of other people’s money on land that seemed to have no value, then, yeah; people would naturally be upset. It’s why they ridiculed Bill’s deal as “Seward’s Folly.” You see, William Seward, the United States Secretary of State, thought that buying the land from Russia in 1867 was actually a wise investment.
You know the land as Alaska.