By Tony Dokoupil
There was a time when employers provided everything: houses, hospitals, bars. Such a place still exists—but not for long. Welcome to Scotia, Calif., the last wholly owned company town in the country. Founded in 1863 by the Pacific Lumber Co., Scotia became “lumberjack heaven”—a complete community with a school, a church, a post office, family homes, and a power plant that provided electric light years before the White House had it. Now it is about to change forever. Marathon Asset Management, a Manhattan-based hedge fund that reluctantly inherited this industrial Eden in a 2008 bankruptcy case, is planning to put the entire town on the market this year—a move that will give residents the chance to own their own homes, elect their own officials, and generally control their own destiny. But longtime residents say that Scotia already amounts to the American Dream.