Tiny Places

In a big city with big industry and big buildings like Detroit, sometimes the tiniest of places can be just as interesting. In 1914, Detroit claimed to have the smallest park in the World sitting on the sidewalk outside the Hermitage Hotel on Congress Street. Apparently created for the Grand Army of the Republic National Encampment in Detroit that year, the “Park of Peace” featured potted plants, a cannon, goldfish, and figurines of children, animals, and soldiers.

A later small-scale attraction, “Midget City,” was a seasonal outdoor miniature landscape constructed just off of Plymouth Road on Detroit’s far west side. The fence-enclosed city was home to resized replicas of Thomas Edison’s birthplace in Ohio, Benjamin Franklin’s birthplace in Boston, and the “Playhouse” of child actress Shirley Temple. Clearly, “Midget City” existed outside the bounds of the space–time continuum. Just outside the town, lakes, mountains, mines, and an Indian village could be found. A model railroad also traversed the diminutive display.
Originating in 1939, this roadside attraction was managed by Orrin L. Dorworth of the Detroit Board of Commerce, and admission was 10¢. But by the time World War II ended, it had closed for good and pieces from the city were given to the Boys’ Club of Detroit.

You can search for more postcards of “Midget City” in our online digital collection.

 

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