Arizona Woman turns general store into home, puts it up for sale for $1.1 million

Tucked away in the ghost town of Pearce, Arizona is a 127-year-old general store. Patricia Burris bought the building with her late husband Michael in 1996. Now, more than two decades later, she’s listing it for sale for $1.1 million.

The exterior of the Pearce Merchantile in the 1950s.


Arizona State Parks Board



Also known as Old Pearce Mercantile or Arizona Ghost Town Museum, the property sits on 0.64 acres of land, according to the SEO. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1978, by its registration document.

“The merchant has been standing there in the same place since 1895. It was your one-stop shop, like today’s department store,” listing agent Patsy Nyberg of Realty One Group Integrity told Insider. “There was even a Wells Fargo bank inside.”

The couple purchased the old general store in 1996, according to a property insurance document Nyberg sent to Insider. Burris declined to split the purchase price.

The 19th-century mining town of Pearce flourished until the 1930s, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. It is now part of the Arizona Ghost Town Trail, a popular road route that connects three former mining towns.

Today there is less than 2,000 people living in Pearce.

As a historian, Michael dreamed of restoring the Old Pearce Mercantile to its former glory. After her death, Patricia spent three years fulfilling her wishes.

The interiors of the museum section of the building.

The interiors of the museum section of the building.


Patsy Nyberg/Realty ONE Group Integrity



“He passed away several years ago, so his wife finished the job. It took about three years and ended around 2019,” Nyberg said.

All of the store’s old shelves, ladders and railings still exist to this day, she added. Even the facade has been carefully repainted and painted.

Burris has decorated the place with antiques and period furniture, transforming it into a one-bedroom house with a museum dedicated to the history of the former mining town.

The building is now part museum, part residence.

The building is now part museum, part residence.


Patsy Nyberg/Realty ONE Group Integrity



“Patty has filled this place with antiques that she has sought out over the years, many of which will be passed on with the sale of the property,” Nyberg said.

Some of these items include historical documents, vintage food wrappers, signs, and appliances such as scales and oil lamps.

These vintage items help tell the town’s story, Nyberg said: “Most of the items in the house were donated by old families who have lived in the area for generations, while others were hoarded during garage sales.”

Even Nyberg has personal ties to the restoration process — her husband, a carpenter, worked with Burris to create the one-bedroom apartment at the rear of the building, she added.

One of the most unique artifacts from the Old Pearce Mercantile is its wooden door, Nyberg said. It was the entrance to a post office in the nearby town of Tombstone.

A vintage bank teller brought from a post office in Tombstone, Arizona.

The wooden door of the Old Pearce Mercantile was the old entrance to a post office in Tombstone, Arizona, which had been relocated.


Patsy Nyberg/Realty ONE Group Integrity



“It looks like a box, but it’s actually the old post office facade that was brought up the hill from the nearby town of Tombstone,” Nyberg said.

There is also a restored Studebaker wagon that sits above the wooden entrance.

The one bedroom apartment is at the back of the building.

The dining area and kitchen.

The open concept dining room and kitchen in the apartments wing of the Old Pearce Mercantile.


Patsy Nyberg/Realty ONE Group Integrity



Although the Old Pearce Mercantile is currently uninhabited, Burris lived there for a short time while her own home — Pearce’s old post office — was being renovated, Nyberg said.

Burris still visits daily to check things out, Nyberg said. “There is a resident cat hanging out there that will also pass on with the property,” she added.

Burris made sure the old appliances, including the vintage stove and refrigerator, were in working order, Nyberg said.

There is a functional antique refrigerator in the kitchen.

There is a functional antique refrigerator in the kitchen.


Patsy Nyberg/Realty ONE Group Integrity



The property has been on and off the market since Burris completed restoration in 2019, recording list To display. She first put the Old Pearce Mercantile up for sale in May 2020 for $944,000. Over the next two years, its price was gradually increased to the current $1.1 million.

Homes in Pearce, Arizona have a median price of $215,000, according to data from the real estate platform real estate agent.com.

There are currently 20 single-family homes for sale in the area, with prices ranging from $56,000 to $1.1 million. The Old Pearce Mercantile, with its $1.1 million price tag, is the most expensive ad in the neighborhood.

While the apartment only has one bedroom, future owners can add more bedrooms and turn the place into a vacation rental.

Bedroom.

Bedroom.


Patsy Nyberg/Realty ONE Group Integrity



“Patty had plans drawn up to add guest cottages with bathrooms in the back, to connect the blacksmith’s shop and all those storage areas,” Nyberg said.

Although the Old Pearce Mercantile is currently registered as a residential property, future owners can easily revert it to commercial status, Nyberg added.

“It’s very easy to change because it was commercial property to begin with,” Nyberg said. “It has a new commercial septic tank installed with a new well, so the place is ready for anything new buyers might want to use.”

One of his favorite memories of the renovation process was when the building inspector arrived, Burris told Insider via Nyberg.

The bathroom.

There are two full bathrooms on the property.


Patsy Nyberg/Realty ONE Group Integrity



As the inspector examined the structure and issued strict requirements, he spotted a rattlesnake slithering into the yard from underneath the building, Burris said.

“The inspection was cut short and the guys went back to work laughing,” she added.

Now that she’s fulfilled her late husband’s dream, Burris is looking to hand over the Old Pearce Mercantile to a new custodian.

The house is filled with ancient treasures that were found by the current owners

The house is filled with antique treasures that were found by the current owners.


Patsy Nyberg/Realty ONE Group Integrity



Burris has hosted weddings and other events on the property. Thanksgiving, in particular, is a big community event: in the past, it opened the way for street fairs with vendors, Nyberg said.

“We’ve used it over the years in the city, and locals are really hoping someone buys it,” Nyberg added.

Burris is selling the property because it’s too much work for her to maintain on her own, Nyberg said.

The exterior of the Old Pearce Mercantile in Arizona.

The exterior of the Old Pearce Mercantile in Arizona.


Patsy Nyberg/Realty ONE Group Integrity



“An ideal buyer would be someone who appreciates the story and is going to keep it as it is. Hopefully they open it up to the community again,” Nyberg said.

“It’s a museum that people should be able to see,” she added.

Comments are closed.