No matter how good your view is, you probably can’t see the whole city from your house … unless you build a miniature replica of it in your backyard. It often takes years, but some people have labored to bring their own version of monuments or ships or TV show sets to life in a way that’s close enough to touch. The dedication and detail that go into these projects is pretty remarkable. It’s almost enough to make us start on a Weest Britain, a replica of Wee Britain from Arrested Development.
Rock and roll
Just how England’s Stonehenge came into being is a mystery, but a retired construction worker from Michigan named Wally Wallington thinks he’s engineered some contraptions that could have been used millennia ago, no modern marvels required. To prove that extremely heavy blocks could’ve been moved by mere mortals, he decided to construct his own Stonehenge in his backyard. His techniques are the definition of low-tech, but immensely impressive nonetheless.
Work of arr-t
Several years ago, Terry Renner got the idea into his head to build a pirate ship. WIth no plans and only research and sketches under his belt, he managed to pull it off. The project was just for fun, and he ended up selling it for $10,000 to Rich Firato, who made it the centerpiece of his theme park, Morgan’s Cove, in California.
All the rues and avenues
Talk about a sustainable city. Over 15 years, Gerard Brion used recycled materials, like baby-food jars, to make a petite version of Paris, bringing a little piece of the city to his garden in the south of France. The 1:130-scale model has everything from the Champs Elysées to the Seine River to the Eiffel Tower. In hopes of making it into more of a tourist attraction, Brion is attempting to relocate everything by September 2016.
Mulvane, Kansas is a long way from San Francisco, but that’s where Larry and Barbara Richardson share their property with a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge. It took about eight years to make and was a group effort, with Richardson getting help from his father and brother. He based his design on a postcard he bought in California before shipping out to Vietnam in 1968. Neither he nor his wife had actually seen the bridge in person until 2012, 11 years after the replica was finished.
If everything you know about the Wild West you learned from that Will Smith song, then you might want to head to Elgin, South Carolina. That’s where Ken White built Whiskey Creek Village. Located in his backyard, the little town has a saloon, church, hotel, doctor’s office, and jail cell. Fifth graders would tour Whiskey Creek to get a sense of what a western village would’ve looked like 100 years ago.
If the term “milk bar” brings to mind A Clockwork Orange, then you’re probably not Australian. To those who come from a land Down Under, it’s a corner store. There aren’t nearly as many around today as in Cyril Robinson’s youth, so he decided to build a replica out of his shed and office. He named it Run’a’Round Sue’s, after the girl he used to frequent milk shops with in his youth; she later became his wife. Check out the photos here.
A 16-foot version of the World Trade Center stands in Lauri Brown’s Las Vegas backyard and lights up at night. A gift from her husband, who made it out of particle board and cement, she calls it an act of love. Though she’s lived in Nevada for years, she was born and raised in New York and has a cousin who narrowly missed being in the towers on 9/11.
Leave it to an architect to tackle Disneyland. In what he calls his garden railroad, Dave Sheegog has painstakingly created scale models of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, Belle’s Village, and other buildings that make up Adventureland and other distinct areas. There’s even a miniature Temple of Doom. Connecting it all is the Disneyland Railroad, with locomotives running along the track. Sheegog points out it’s a lot quicker to see everything in his 60-foot backyard. Admission must be a fraction of the cost, too. Watch the video here.
It’s a gas
Unlike a lot of these replicas, this project started without an actual vision. Star City Racing user Boostedbuford uploaded photos of his replica gas station, which he decided to build after buying a Sinclair gas pump on Craigslist and later catching site of a run-down service station. He made a sign, converted a shed, and put the whole thing together. It may not actually have anything coming out of the pump, but the sight of it probably fills the owner with happiness.
It doesn’t matter if Stan Fraser’s 100-foot replica of the Titanic is seaworthy, as it’s parked in his backyard. The former lighting engineer and ship fan spent 11 years building it, then decided to convert part of his home into a museum and cafe. If you’re ever in Scotland, you can take a trip and wonder if your heart will go on.
Love during wartime
For the young’uns who don’t have TV Land, M*A*S*H* was a long-running show about doctors during the Korean War. People loved it, but maybe no one more so than David Dilday, who built a replica of the set on his 1,000-square-foot lawn. He reportedly sold it to a couple who then donated it to the Kansas National Guard Museum, according to Roadside Resort.
Northeastern England resident John Wiggins loved local mining history so much that he spent 13 years digging his own. While it’s only 15 feet below ground, Wiggins tried to make everything as authentic as possible, as though the miners just mysteriously vanished one day. The project reportedly cost thousands of pounds, so it’s sort of a gold mine.