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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Little Old Church in Our Yard: 1972

The Little Old Church in Our Yard: 1972

How did we manage to get a church in our back yard, you may ask? Because it's only about 18 inches tall. It's modeled (so to speak) after Alice in Wonderland's church in Disneyland's Storybook Land, which I was fascinated with. I started my version on my own in the early 60s, but by this time I'd gotten an equally model-mad friend involved and we built this. By then I had the to-scale landscaping down, including Irish and Scotch moss for grass-like ground cover. I also had the Seven Dwarfs' cottage plus Toad Hall and Moley's house from Wind in the Willows, likewise patterned after those in the Disneyland ride. Subsequent owners of our place let all my miniature trees grow, and now they're gigantic. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Church emplacement

How long was this midget church in your back yard? queries Dave.

Somewhere in the years between 1970 and 1980. I started my Storybook Land project around 1962, and the church was the last completed model. We got pretty well along the way with what would have been a fantastic waterwheel mill, also like the Disneyland one, but never finished it. I think my friend's marriage was the culprit.

Another question

How long was this midget church in your back yard?

Back yard church today

DJ asked where the church is today. My model-building partner says it's been sitting in his garage for the past 25 years or so. Maybe we should haul it out and renovate it, assuming it hasn't been devoured by termites in the interim. Even more problematic is the difference in motivation, initiative and drive between two twenty-somethings and a couple of 62 year-old guys.

Just wondering

Do any of your model buildings still exist?

Here's to Mom and Dad

How great that you had parents who encouraged you to be so creative and enterprising!


I'm about 10 years older than you are and I had the same enthusiasm for building things and I too, had acquired a model-mad friend. Thank you for showing your work and thank you for showing your visual family records. It is nice to see you in the photographers list. You are in good company for sure.

The Nerve.....

of those dastardly subsequent owners allowing your miniature trees to grow.

Spinal Tap

The 18" measurement is reminiscent of the Stonehenge model in "This is Spinal Tap."

Seeing your photo, and the original in the first comment, I am really impressed at your work there. I remember spending many hours of my childhood making models. None of my three kids showed a similar interest. Do kids still do this?

Anyway, maybe I'll make a little church for my backyard. Thanks for the glimpse.


I am a big fan of the Alice books (one of my cats is named Alice). Why is there a church in her village at this park (or ride? What is it?) That seems so odd.

tterrace, it must be annoying to see your carefully pruned miniatures in a not very miniature state.

What a great photo!

The angle you chose really makes it appear full-scale.
And the workmanship of the church is fantastic.
My hat is off to you, sir!

So many levels of awesomeness

Wow, tterrace. You realize that you led a 99th-percentile childhood, yes?

That said, a house in our Southern California neighborhood sported a miniature Mount Fuji in the front(!) yard from the 1960s until quite recently.

Good job!

That's pretty amazing, and quite a creative leap from the lawn gnomes and frogs lurking in many family gardens. Perhaps some Shorpyans have never never made the pilgrimage to Anaheim to see the original. Here's a recent photo of part of Alice's village and its church.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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