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January 11, 2021 Town Spotlight: Middletown

Well-known Middletown retail landmark, vacant since 2018, sold to neighboring auto dealer

Photo | Contributed COSTAR Wild Bill’s Nostalgia in Middletown, which has been vacant for the past several years, has been sold to a nearby auto dealer.

One of Middletown’s most unique properties, the former home of collectibles and oddities purveyor Wild Bill’s Nostalgia, has been purchased by the owners of a nearby car dealership.

The buildings at 1003 Newfield St./Route 3, decorated in carnival-esque and psychedelic motifs, easily catch the eye of passing motorists, but they’ve been vacant for the past several years, following William “Wild Bill” Ziegler’s death in 2017 at the age of 70.

In late 2019, Ziegler’s son, Buffalo Bill Ziegler, opened a similarly-themed shop in Manchester, Fool’s Paradise.

Statovci LLC — led by the owners of Newfield Auto Sales, located a quarter-mile away and on the opposite side of Newfield Street — paid $550,000 for Wild Bill’s property in November, according to town records.

Exactly what they have planned for the property isn’t clear.

Reached by phone recently, Bashkim Statovci made reference to pending demolition work, but declined to divulge further details before hanging up on a reporter.

An official in the Middletown building inspector’s office said the owner had recently inquired about a demolition permit, and that one may be submitted soon, though no further information was available. In addition, city planning and zoning officials said they hadn’t received any permits or plans for the property.

In early 2017, shortly before Wild Bill Ziegler’s death, Connecticut Magazine included Wild Bill’s Nostalgia on its list of “30 tucked-away gems to visit” in the state, describing the destination as a “counter-cultural paradise” that featured “a working farm, two funhouses and off-the-wall sculptures, such as a creature’s skeleton atop a Volkswagen half-buried in concrete, and the shells of three Yugos. There’s also a 600-pound clown head atop a 33-foot silo, which may or may not be the world’s largest jack-in-the-box.”

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