Founder of Cal-Nev-Ari reflects on sale of tiny town

Local News

CAL-NEV-ARI, Nev (KLAS) – One of the smallest towns in Nevada has been sold for $8-million after sitting on the market for more than 15 years. Now the woman who helped found Cal-Nev-Ari, Nev. 57 years ago is finally letting go.

Nancy Kidwell started the town in South Clark County off US 95 in the mid-1960’s when the area was nothing but dirt and wide-open sky. Both were pilots and were attracted to the old, abandoned Army runway nearby.

Kidwell still lives in the community of 250 people. Her two husbands are buried there.

“I keep thinking, what am I going to do with the rest of my life?” Kidwell wondered, sitting in her office.

But, Kidwell says it’s time to let go and move on.

“I came here when I was 28 years old,” she recalled. “This is all I’ve really known all my life.”

Slideshow: Cal-Nev-Ari sold for $8-million

Kidwell says she’s tried to sell Cal-Nev-Ari for nearly 20 years. Last month, she finally found the right buyer, Heart of Nature. The company mines sulfur near Tonopah and sells it for organic farming. The precious water underneath Cal-Nev-Ari and money saved by doing business there drew investors to the site.

“$8-million is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Jerry Tyler, president of Heart of Nature. “The investment into this town will be several multiples of that.”

Tyler’s company plans to build granulating plants at first. Then, improve the infrastructure and add some homes. Heart of Nature expects to add dozens of jobs and up to $40-million in investments.

Tyler said he wants to keep Cal-Nev-Ari the way Kidwell made it.

“We want to lift up her legacy here and protect that,” said Tyler. “The story of this town is unbelievable.”

“It was just a very emotional thing for me to sign (the sales) papers,” said Kidwell, “It’s like giving away your life.”

Kidwell plans to get a new plane and fly the skies again. She wants to see the country and might write a book about her life’s experiences after that.

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