Tiny Town, Colorado, Celebrates 100th Birthday

Listen Now
Photo: Tiny Town Train Operator
Tiny Town visitors head out on a miniature train tour, Sunday, July 19, 2015.

Tiny Town, nestled in the foothills outside of Denver, is among Colorado's most bizarre and charming tourist attractions.

The "town," which turns 100 this year, is a stretch of miniature replicas of some of the most important Colorado landmarks. For instance, you'll find a mini Molly Brown House and the Central City Opera House on the site. Visitors can also take a ride on a small train that snakes through the property.

The town is officially called Tiny Town and Railroad, but at first it was dubbed "Turnerville" for Colorado businessman George Turner. He began constructing the miniature town in 1915 for his daughter who suffered from a chronic illness. Turner replicated his own business, Turner Moving and Storage, and the businesses of several friends whom he charged $2 each for the space.

In 1920, the town opened to the public. Over the decades, it has seen the same kinds of challenges as real towns. Floods and fires have wiped out structures over the years.

The last big flood was in 1968, uprooting buildings and sending them drifting down the creek, said Elvira Nedoma, Tiny Town's manager for 15 years.

"They brought back the houses that they could that floated down the creek and it took them three years to reopen this park," Nedoma said.

Tiny Town's Elvira Nedoma (HV)
Tiny Town's Elvira Nedoma, photographed Sunday, July 19, 2015.

Nedoma wears a glittery tiara to work every day and is the heart and soul of the town, which operates as a nonprofit. She's also the author of "If These Tracks Could Talk," a new book about the site.

Nedoma said she wants visitors to have fun: "They're all happy when they leave here and I know that we've all done our job."

About 12o,000 people will visit Tiny Town by the time the season is over at the end of September. The off season, she said, is dedicated to painting and fixing up the buildings.