The Legend of Midgetville

image For Christmas I received a great book, Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman. Immediately I flipped through it to find anything about San Diego, and soon came across the legend of Midgetville.

Midgetville refers to the legend of a town consisting of scaled-down houses built for little people. Midgetville is said to exist in various places throughout America. As Moran and Sceurman note, the most credible rumor locates such a town in Jefferson Township, New Jersey, on the former estate of circus mogul Alfred T. Ringling. There really is a collection of small-sized houses there that could conceivably have once been home to a colony of midgets. However, another very persistent legend locates a Midgetville in San Diego.

Moran and Sceurman don't go into much detail about the San Diego Midgetville, but I realized that I had heard this legend before (my wife had also heard it). This is how it goes: back in the 1930s a group of little people who had made a lot of money in Hollywood appearing in movies such as The Wizard of Oz supposedly came down to San Diego and built a collection of miniature houses on Mt. Soledad where they could live in comfort together. But of course, nobody seems to know exactly where on Mt. Soledad this group of small houses was or is, though everybody has heard of a "friend of a friend" who once accidentally found the houses (though this FOAF can never remember how to get back there).

Determined to find the houses, I did a google search and came across an article from 2003 written by Kenneth Smith for the Daily Aztec detailing his own efforts to track down San Diego's fabled 'Munchkin Houses'. After many false starts, he finally discovered that they were most probably "a group of four cottages on Hillside Drive in La Jolla... built by famed architect Cliff May." Although no midgets or little people were ever known to live in these houses, Smith says that, "The houses do indeed have smallish features, accentuated by an optical illusion. The steep road that passes them makes them seem even smaller than they actually are." Unfortunately only one of the four cottages remains standing, but Smith provides directions to find it: "take Hillside Drive from Torrey Pines Road. The house will be on your left-hand side. Look for the crazy midget handwriting." He also mentions that if you peek through the window (the house is unoccupied) you'll see "cobblestone-like tiled floors and a little round fireplace."

Of course, I had to see this for myself, even if no colony of Wizard-of-Oz midgets had ever lived there. So on New Year's Day I convinced my wife to accompany me on a search for the Munchkin House. The results were mixed. It was no problem finding Hillside Drive, but as it turns out Hillside Drive is fairly long. We were driving up and down it (as a line of cars formed behind us) wondering 'exactly which house on the left did he mean.' None of the houses leaps out at you and screams 'Munchkin House.' But finally we settled on one house that we figured must be it: Seventy-Four Seventy-Seven Hillside Drive. It had small windows and a small door. Plus, the address written beside the door looked a bit like 'crazy midget handwriting' (though I think Smith was joking about this). Ignoring the 'No Trespassing' sign (even though part of the legend of Midgetville is that the midgets who live there fiercely defend their land from the Bigs), I peeked through the window and saw the cobblestone-like tiled floors and a little round fireplace. So I think I found the Munchkin House, though I'm not 100% sure. It's certainly not anything that would catch your attention if you weren't specifically looking for it since it's really not that small, which made the trip a bit disappointing. But the weird thing is, I've already forgotten how to get back there.


Posted on Sun Jan 02, 2005


It's your problem if you want to seclude yourself from the rest of the world... I would give you my address to come stare at me but I'm sure that would make you a pervert right? Besides it wouldn't matter how old I was since if I were 5 years old that wouldn't make us any difference in height right...don't be scared. I think the egors alley thing down the street is more amusing than watch you come running out of your dollhouse and run after me with a butter knife... Maybe if people didn't react so badly toward visitors people would not make such a big deal about you or your place and wonder why people never make any pleasent comments like they are really really nice people and welcoming... no they are just rude and voilent no wonder people come out there to see for themselves the hostility that would draw the curiosity of others??? Ever thought of that? First of all if I were in your small shoes... I wouldn't be hiding in the little village and I wouldn't have so much time in my hands responding to my fans...hahahahaha! Beware now you pissed off a group of regular size humans and now they are coming after you....
Posted by Long Beach Native  on  Sun Nov 30, 2008  at  10:19 PM
ok so i live in claremont ca and yes there is a midgetville. you need to go all the way up north padua once you get there you will see a huge white house with goverment property no tresspassing. There is a crazy lady that guards the house and if you get a chance to see behind the house there are many small houses. It looks like a midget community
Posted by Joey harris  in  Claremont Ca  on  Fri Dec 05, 2008  at  08:54 PM
I ventured to the Hidden road location in Fort Worth tonight. Seriously, someone please go with me during the day and show me. Cause we walked through countless brush but coulnt find a clearing to pear in to. And email me with any other myths or spooky novelties about this beautiful fucking fort worth I love.
Posted by taylor  in  TX  on  Fri Dec 12, 2008  at  09:28 PM
My parents and my aunts & uncles SWEAR there is a Midget City in Downey right off Telegraph road. It was supposedly close to Baker Oil and some kind of bakery..My sister, me and my cousins think they are crazy!!
Posted by Laura  in  Bullhead City. Arizona  on  Sat Dec 27, 2008  at  12:14 AM
tonight me and acouple of buddies decided to go out on a voyage and see if this "midget ville"actually existed and it did...its off monte vista and you go all the way up and park at the theatre and hike up towards the village well today we went and snook in front of one of their houses and heard the voices of small people talkin...then like 12 eleves come out and santa claus was in back of them and they got on top of the reindeer and rudolph was leading the way with his bright red nose on a foggy night...2 days later we got letters from the north pole saying..."i know what you did this winter!!"
Posted by hugo manuel jesus de leticia  in  ontario,ca  on  Sun Dec 28, 2008  at  04:13 AM
Dose anyone know anything about the midgetville near st. Johns, Mi? There is a tone of urban legends about the place, and I've even seen entrance. ( kind of hidden and creepy looking - just never had the time or balls to trespass ) But I cant seem to find any info on the internet about it.
Posted by Bruce Walters  in  Lansing, Mi  on  Sat Jan 03, 2009  at  08:03 PM
Midget houses in Long Beach, CA
I grew up in Long Beach. In the late 1960s, my friend and I were driving around Bixby Knolls (she's one of these people who is a wealth of information) and she asked me if I wanted to see where the midgets lived. One minute later were were driving past these little houses on a curving road. I don't remember a gate. We weren't looking for the occupants; I was just fascinated by the houses. I hadn't thought about this in years but will definitely have to look for the neighborhood the next time I'm in Long Beach.
Posted by Anne  in  Malvern PA  on  Fri Feb 06, 2009  at  09:14 PM
Ok I know this is an old post but I came across it while doing some research. Now Stoned91 you may be actually Stoned. Your right about the midget village in Riverside CA being down a private drive way. My driveway in fact. So i take it you were one of the many people blocking our driveway and trust passing on our property. Secondly to set the record really straight. That wasnt a midget village. That was a ranch, and those little houses belonged to mexican orange pickers who lived on that ranch. The last owner of the ranch died of Aids shortly after we bought our property down there. The place became a famous hang out for stupid kids and hide out for stolen cars after that until it was torn down a few years before we sold our house there. No midgets ever resided there.
Posted by Lauren  in  Riverside CA  on  Tue Feb 10, 2009  at  03:55 PM
I have actually been there before. Everything is small, houses, the windows, the doors. It was actually a very cute little street. I didn't see anyone outside though, but I enjoyed driving through. Very cute. And yes, it does exist.
Posted by Sarah  in  Santa Barbara  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  11:16 AM
Hi Sarah, (hope you see this)

I went through Periwinkle Lane today, and I didn't see any little houses. I saw 2 tall people and like 6 big houses. I was a little confused as I looked at the details and they seemed to be regular sized houses. I took San Ysidro Exit, went down to E Valley Rd and took a left on Hodges and then on to Periwinkle Lane. As that is where I understood it was. I just went in the little circle, as it looked like the street ended at the house in the back. Please let me know exactly where it is, and if I had the correct spot, but just didn't go far enough back.
Posted by Rachel  in  Santa barbara,  on  Wed Feb 18, 2009  at  08:36 PM
Ok there is a midgetville in Claremont hills. Straight up monte vista but this one you cant drive to they have the dirt road blocked. It is the scariest thing at night because there are all kinds of kinds warning you not to go any farther. There have been stories of dogs being let loose and rocks being thrown at tresspassers. I still have yet to see a midget. Im not stopping to i see a little person!!!!
Dont go by yourself!
Posted by Marz  in  Upland, Cali  on  Thu Feb 19, 2009  at  10:17 PM
Nothing on fort worth?
Posted by taylor  in  texas  on  Sat Feb 21, 2009  at  10:06 AM
Ok, SO ive always heard about this Migetville in Claremont Ca. I went this weekend to see if it was true.. I couldnt find it. I heard its on some road with a DEAD END sign.. But all i saw was a road with Orange cones blocking the road.. Is that it?? Can someone please help me??
Posted by Courtney  in  Rancho Cucamonga  on  Tue Feb 24, 2009  at  01:30 PM
Posted by BILL  in  LONG BEACH CA.  on  Wed Mar 04, 2009  at  01:56 PM
I just took the family on a drive up to the so-called Midgetville in Claremont, CA and there is no such thing. We were going to buy a house up there in 2002 and we ventured far up into Palmer Canyon and there was no little area of little people. I have lived in this area for the last 12 years and have only encountered a little person maybe once or twice during that time...
Posted by Claremont Gal  in  Claremont, CA  on  Sun Apr 19, 2009  at  05:32 PM
Well, as far as Midgetville being in Montecito,CA (notice correct spelling), those of us who have lived here for 40+ years have never referred to it as such. Although Periwinkle Lane is a charming little street, it was not built for midgets. Most of the houses were designed by the Moody Sisters. They were contemporaries of and friends of Lutah Riggs who worked with George Washington Smith. The Moody Sisters also designed the houses on Rosemary Lane in Santa Barbara. Each one has an interesting story.
Periwinkle Lane is not off of Olive Mill, it is just off the intersection of San Ysidro Road and East Valley Road. It is East of San Ysidro Road and North of East Valley Road. Although it is not a private road, it is narrow and most of us help protect the privacy of those who live there by staying away unless we are invited. Ironically, one of the owners of a home on Periwinkle was Billy Barty's sister, and he was a little person.
Posted by Anonymous  in  Montecito, CA  on  Sun May 17, 2009  at  08:59 AM
I think so far the legend of Fort worth's midgetville is the craziest, and probably true. A restaurant that served the best burgers in fort worth. I've heard quite a few but if there's any more info on the fort worth's site or interesting others post.
Posted by taylor  in  fort worth, tx  on  Sun May 17, 2009  at  08:59 PM
In Downey Calif there were several really small houses we called the munchkin houses. I belive they were on just one side of the street.I think they were northwest of Rives/Imperial. I had forgotten where they were and wanted to see them again (1979), but my girlfreind refused to take me back because she said they creeped her out too
much. They were kinda creepy I guess.
Posted by Alan  in  Arlington Texas  on  Wed May 20, 2009  at  08:22 PM
Haha finally, I have found the midgetville in fort worth on google earth, actually Microsoft's live local. Found the mini church then the stables, then the houses. I believe its the first one to be found from satilite pictures.
Posted by taylor  in  fort worth, tx  on  Sat May 23, 2009  at  09:09 PM
I recently visited the two rumored "midgetvilles" on Long Island (Oakdale & North Merrick). Growing up here, I've always heard the rumors but never got the courage to go explore...until last night. The midgetville in Oakdale was questionable. The road (Princess Gate) is super narrow, poorly lit and weird. I'm not sure if it was a legit midgie town or not but it was definatly creepy. The second midget colony in North Merrick (Peck Ave) was something else. I went to input the address into my GPS and it gave me some kind of creepy message that claimed it couldn't take me to the specific address but it could take me to the general town of North Merrick (which leads me to believe that the government is protecting these midgies for some reason). Again the roads were super narrow and the houses were itty bitty. This one had cute, brightly painted houses and little narrow doors. My friend wanted to get out and explore them up close but I refused - in fear that a midgie would wake up and get angry. Since it was late at night we weren't able to see any midgies but we plan on visiting again during the daytime.
Posted by Lauren  in  Long Island, NY  on  Wed Jul 08, 2009  at  10:15 AM
I went to the fort worth site the other day while I was in the vascinity. Last time I had been there was at night, and there was one sign in front of a gate and keypad, a sign that stated this was goverment assigned land. Needless to say, the sign was gone after that night.

Driving down this road, I came to the gate, and now brand new signs with a newly stated "hefty fine" in big red letters. I pulled up and made a u-turn and went down an adjacent street and did the same. As I was driving back towards the ominious gate, and all of a sudden an all black, non-descript ford explorer pulls up, as if he was going to punch a number in that keypad. He then throws it in reverse as I drive past him, much like I did seconds before. It was not yet night, and then man pulls behind me, lights blaring. For the next few blocks it was easy to tell he was just trying to get us away from there. There is a walking trail right next to the land, so I'm not done searching yet, but one thing is for sure, there's something back there, they don't want locals knowing about.
Posted by Taylor Again  in  fort worth, tx  on  Wed Jul 08, 2009  at  06:10 PM
That place on Hidden Road in Fort Worth holds such memories. I saw the village when it was active with those little folks and thought it was the coolest thing going. I was a teenager back in the 60s, when the village was populated. It was right down the street from a top-notch art teacher that mentored me for my art career.

I wonder if what you saw was the super-duper private guard patrol for the Bass Family compound. They may have bought that property to go with the huge compound next to it. I was riding a bike near the fence a few years back and these tough guards appeared out of no-where. That can be disconcerting...Hahaha! Then again perhaps the new socialists Federal SS under the current regime is preparing some evil suppression/containment for the common citizen-serfs. When our US money ends up only good for toilet paper we might become unruly.
Posted by Tommy  in  Fort Worth, TX  on  Thu Jul 09, 2009  at  11:16 AM
Haha. I actually considered that. I saw the compound (ha) on windows live local and saw the beyond gorgeous sight of pools and amazing landscape in nimiety. On windows live local if you look beyond the gate the church and other homes, and I believe stables, can be seen. Thanks for the information.
Posted by taylor  in  fort worth  on  Thu Jul 09, 2009  at  09:44 PM
Taylor, thanks for posting the info about the satellite pictures of M-ville. Really interesting to see those images, especially the church.

Sure would like to wander around and see those buildings though. Wonder if they have it where it cannnot be approached.
Posted by dx  in  Fort Worth  on  Fri Jul 10, 2009  at  10:06 PM
Oh no problem, I searched hidden road and all around for a while till I found it, and I was shocked. The main entrance you can't get through, but there is a walking trail right next to the woods, so I'm not giving up.
Posted by taylor  on  Sat Jul 11, 2009  at  05:26 PM
The satellite images show the grounds of Midgetville to be in very pristine condition. I am curious what they use it for now. Would be cool to see if the buildings are in decent condition and what their use if any is.

If you are sucessful in getting in there, take good notes and advise!
Posted by dx  in  Fort Worth  on  Sat Jul 11, 2009  at  07:18 PM
i live in a house out here in pennsylvania 12x18 im small as people say and live a wonderous life of you tall people you's search for places like myin for what reason were humans just like you's come to my area you will be chased away by alll of us have a nice one tallll folk's.....
Posted by steve  in  pennsylvania  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  06:49 PM
Yeah, dx, its amazing. Behind the church there is a street of small houses that can barely be seen via the trees casting a well guarded canvas. And as for you Steve (if you are who you say you are). After that pointless diatribe, all you have proven is your obvious imbicility. Before you tediously testing yourself with the "almighty" internet, learn how to complete a fucking sentence. You are only ridiculed because you choose to hide. As we have learned from the government, the best hiding place, is plain site.
Posted by taylor  in  funky town itself  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  08:20 PM

And for those of you in Pennsylvania, Steve here, has in fact...validated the myth of the midgetville, there.

Great job Steve. You have done better than any of us in confirming these persistant, continental rumors. Congrats gentleman, one down.
Posted by taylor  in  Fw  on  Tue Jul 14, 2009  at  12:14 AM
Hey "Steve from Pennsylvania" crack me up! Threaten to be "chased away". Wow, now THAT's scary! Almost as scary as you & your little buddies running full steam, forehead first into one of those "tallll folks" boots.

Take it easy, little fella. Just as you would look at a village of armless people or something, people are going to look at you. I
Posted by JIMI  in  Riverside, CA (Home of the La Sierra Midgetville)  on  Tue Jul 14, 2009  at  11:43 AM
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