You Can Buy A Chesapeake Island, But You Need to Buy Goats Too
The 55-acre Goat Island in the middle of the Chesapeake has hit the market for $1.5 million, but whoever buys it also has to buy 30 goats too.
The small island – formally named “Bradshaw’s First Purchase” – is colloquially known as “Goat Island.” This marks the first time in a long time that a Chesapeake island parcel has hit the market in a long time. Goat Island was previously for listed for sale in 2008 and a Texas buyer was preparing to pay $14 million for the parcel. That deal, however, fell through when the United States’ housing market collapsed that same year.
Some have worried that the island could disappear in future decades as the sea level rises. In the 1600s, there were hundreds of islands in the Chespeake and almost all gave way to the tide. The Bradshaw family refutes this because not one square foot of land has disappeared since they took ownership of the island.
Since that deal fell apart, interest in the property completely evaporated until this year, when a new real estate agent decided to place a for sale sign on the property to capture boat traffic. That one sign sparked renewed interest in the land.
Goat Island was originally purchased by the Bradshaw family in 1956. Harvey Bradshaw bought the land for recreational purposes, namely hunting and fishing. A few huts and blinds were built on the island, but it has otherwise been untouched.
Amazingly, nobody knows how the goats ended up on the island and at this point, no one really bothers to ask. The goats are just there and whoever buys the land will have to live with them.
One possible explanation borrows a theory used to explain the horse herds on Assateague and Chincoteague Islands. There, ranchers supposedly brought their horses onto the islands to avoid having to pay a livestock tax. Because livestock taxes were determined by how many animals a farmer/ranchers had within a fenced property, historians suspect that the horses were brought there to graze without need for fencing them in. While it is impossible to know whether the goats of Goat Island were part of a similar tax evasion strategy, the theory is certainly plausible.
The problem is that the Bradshaw family contends the goats got there after they bought the island and that they didn’t put them there. So, how they got there is truly anyone’s guess.
Whoever purchases the island will take ownership of the goats, unless they get up and swim away. Since goats cost, on average, around $100, some might call this a hell of a deal. So, if you have $1.5 million and want to buy an undeveloped island with a bunch of random goats, strike now.