After a Wednesday morning tax deed auction, the historic Dumas Brothel in Uptown Butte has gone to the highest bidder.
The former bordello at 45 E. Mercury St. was sold to David and Charlee Prince of Forsyth, who outbid a handful of prospective buyers at the county courthouse with a final bid of $29,000. Bidding on the property started at $10,100.
The Dumas was subject to the sale because the now former owner of the property, Travis Eskelsen, owed over $5,800 in back taxes on it, including a 2014 delinquent lien that made the property eligible for the sale.
Eskelsen had until 5 p.m. Tuesday to redeem the property.
According to a previous news story, Eskelsen visited the county treasurer’s office late Tuesday afternoon in a last effort to pay the taxes and save the bordello from the auction block.
After working his cellphone, withdrawing some cash and securing a small loan from his parents, Eskelsen left the office to secure more funding but did not return.
Eskelsen purchased the Dumas with his partner Michael Piche in 2012. The two operated the Dumas as a museum and had plans to turn it into a bed aned breakfast.
Piche passed away in January at age 34.
"It was his dream and his passion," Eskelsen told The Montana Standard Tuesday, referring to his late partner. "And so I want to carry on what we started together."
As for the Princes, they’re not sure what they’ll do with the Dumas but plan to maintain the historic nature of the property.
The couple, who work at family-owned business Prince Inc., a construction company in Forsyth, described themselves as history buffs who occasionally like to dabble in ghost hunting — so when they were in town this week and heard about the sale, buying the Dumas seemed like a good fit.
David Prince said he and his wife have purchased properties in the past. “But not like this,” he said, noting that the Dumas marks a new chapter.