Business Scams (1869-1913)


Here is a fake that your site overlooked: The Paper City.

In the 1860's, a huge publicity campaign appeared in the United States, primarily along the eastern seaboard. Promoters were loudly proclaiming that a new city called Rollingstone was being developed along the Mississippi River near the borders of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

To add interest to the promotional campaign, maps were available, which showed that Rollingstone was not only a planned community--a newfangled idea at the time--but that the city already boasted of a city hall, library, courthouse, etc. And, the promoters pointed out, there were not only finished houses for sale, but also many lots still available for those who either wanted to buy them and build their own house, to save money.

Rollingstone appealed to many people, especially to new immigrants to the United States. The idea of coming into a town where you already owned property was a dream come true, and the Rollingstone sales skyrocketed.

However, when the people arrived at the location of Rollingstone, they found nothing but a bleak open prairie. The few inhabitants of the area, lonely farmhouses for the most part, had never heard of Rollingstone. Dispirited and angry, the investors ranged far and wide looking for their fabled city, but found nothing but barren landscape. In dejection, they called Rollingstone "The Paper City".

The slick promoters were never caught, and the evil genius who created the scheme remains unknown to this day.

Posted by Lawrence  in  California  on  Sun Oct 14, 2012  at  11:21 PM