Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This is a tiny town, and we don't want you coming 'round

The family asked me what I wanted to do for Father's Day and I decided I wanted to go for a drive in the mountains and find a nice place for a picnic. It's Colorado right, how hard could it be. So we headed out on the highway and after a couple of wrong turns we ended up in Conifer, where Trey Parker grew up.

Coming around a bend in the highway we saw rows of tiny Victorian houses, a Silver Spoons style tiny steam train and a sign reading Tiny Town. We sat in the truck and inhaled our sandwiches then hotfooted it to the tiny booth where we paid the tiny man with a tiny visa card.

The prices were cheap, 7 bucks for adults and 5 for kids, which includes a ride on the train. Just inside the gate Amanda turned to me and said, "Thanks for spending Father's Day making one of my childhood dreams come true."

Apparently a guy named George Turner began building Tiny Town in 1915 on the site of a Denver-Leadville Stage Coach station as a way to entertain his daughter. By 1920 he opened to the public and by 1924 there were 125 buildings and two lakes. Looking at the old photos of Tiny Town it looks like any idyllic American town in the 1920s.

Several floods, fires and restoration attempts later, Tiny Town isn't quite as grand as I imagine it once was. Like lots of full-sized small towns in America, some of the buildings seem a little rundown and it doesn't quite have that perfect little community vibe it once had. It's still a relaxing way to spend Father's Day - or any day for that matter.

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