For Sale: 5 acres in Paradise Valley. It's complete with pastures, a home, a few developed lots and... a post office?
"They'll be like, 'What's your story?' 'Well, you know I live at Pray, I own the town." And they're like 'woah!'" said Barbara Walker, re-capping what conversations are like when she explains to people that she owns a town.
Walker owns Pray, Montana- something she's been proud to brag about for the past few years.
"It was great for me to be the mayor because the Postal Service was like, 'Well, I think you're supposed to do that.' And I was just like, 'Nope, the mayor says you're supposed to do it.' So that's been fun" Walker said.
But the story goes beyond playing mayor.
"Sat there and had an ice cream sandwich and listened to the locals, and that was my first exposure to Pray Store" Walker said, of the first time she stopped into Pray.
1981 was the first time Walker set foot into the Pray General Store.
At that time, it belonged to her future mother-in-law Ruby Walker. Ruby's parents bought Pray in the early 1950's.
"The store kind of functioned as a grocery store and gas station. And this was the post office" Barbara said, as she walked around the one-room store.
The vintage P.O. Boxes date back to the 1930s. Pray residents used them until the late 90s.
Ruby's mother Madge served as postmaster and store clerk for nearly 20 years. Ruby did the same for 30.
"The locals liked it. They liked it" Barbara said, as she looked at the old P.O. boxes in the store. "And that was my old post office box."
Walker's box was number 96. There were combination pads on every box, but hardly any of them worked due to age.
But in a small town like Pray, there wasn't a need to lock those boxes.
Local residents said in those days, the store was the hub of the valley.
"You would go to the store to make a call. You'd go down to the store to find everything out- who passed away, who just had a baby, who's getting married, when they're getting married" said 5th generation Pray resident Lorna Marchington. "So that was our internet."
But in 1999, Ruby retired and soon after, passed away.
The government built a new post office. The store closed down.
"When that closed we didn't have the community like we did when we used to have that" Marchington said.
Walker said that without the general store, the locals just haven't had a place to convene.
They've even used the post office parking lot as a place to talk and hang out.
"Our goal was to get the store doors open" Walker said. "Create a place for the locals to come back to."
Walker and her husband Johnny wanted to re-open the store for the community's sake.
But he passed away in 2006, and she just hasn't been able to do it alone.
"It's right now just existing and I think somebody else could make it thrive" Walker said.