What began as a labor of love by a Terrace resident to remember his Irish hometown will soon be no more.
Now weathered by age and some damaged by vandals, the 19 miniature replicas of buildings in Jim Allen’s hometown of Youghal have stood next to the George Little House on city property for nearly 10 year.
With the city’s demolition of the adjacent former Co-op Garden Centre, the chain-link fence that protected the village affectionately known as “Tiny Town” will also be demolished.
Longtime residents of Terrace will remember decades back when Tiny Town was home to Allen’s Agar Ave.
The buildings were arranged along the driveway beside the house and in the backyard, creating an attraction for locals and tourists.
The hanging lights during the Christmas season have made this a must-see for those taking a nighttime city lights tour.
When circumstances dictated that Tiny Town needed to be moved, and with the possibility of the buildings being taken down, a temporary home was found at Skeena Mall in 2010.
When the mall was purchased and major renovations began in 2012, the same group of volunteers who organized the move into the mall then organized the move to municipal property, adjacent to the George Little House.
The houses were made to look like a main street and, thanks to a vocational training grant awarded to the Terrace and District Community Services Society, the miniatures were repaired and repainted.
Allen of Yougal’s replica included a post office, butcher, cobbler, hairdresser, information center and two pub buildings, one of which also contains an undertaker’s business.
Allen, who came to Terrace in 1956 to help build Sacred Heart Parish, died in 2014 aged 80.
A handful of volunteers have worked to maintain the structures and surroundings for years.
Despite the protection of the fence that the city now wants to remove, vandals have damaged some buildings.
“It’s very sad. He’s had his life,” said one of the remaining volunteers, Debbie Letawksi from nearby George Little House.
She and Leonard Lindstrom, the maintenance manager of George Little House, are evaluating the structures this week to better determine which can be moved and which cannot realistically be saved.
Letawski credited Yvonne Moen, community historian and Town of Terrace Freeman, for spearheading the preservation of Tiny Town in recent years.
She also cited Britny Sharron as one of the people who have played a key role since the move next to the George Little House by arranging tours and helping out.
Letawksi wishes to retain several of the buildings and place them behind the George Little House.
“They will always give people something to watch,” she said.
People who might want one of the others who are in good condition can call Letawski at 250-631-9116.
“They’re heavy and they’ll have to come get them,” she said.
Municipal Heritage Administration