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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.
Places
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jan 02, 2005
My friends and I went looking for this tiny town in Claremont and found nothing. We went all the way to the top of Padula and founf nothing but multi-million dollar homes and a national park.
Posted by Roxy  on  Sun Jun 22, 2008  at  02:58 AM
okay so ive been hearing alot about these midget towns so i went to the one in clarmont with some friends last night at like 12am and we couldnt see much but there was a van but no lady chased us out and we saw all the mail boxes to the right but we couldnt see any houses only the one to the left that looked pretty normal. i want to go during the day to get pictures.
Posted by Angela  in  fontana ca  on  Sun Jun 22, 2008  at  03:21 PM
Ok people... just FYI... I went and took a drive out past La Jolla towards Mount Soledad. I drove up to that hill with the huge cross on top. Beware if you take a keyless entry or push button start car. If you lock your doors... Your key sensors will be thrown off and your car will not be able to detect your remote. I nearly found myself stuck there driving a hybrid car, keyless using a push start button. I couldn't start my freakin car!!! I was freaked out and luckily someone parked next to me helped me look through the car operation manual to troubleshoot this. My shift knobs were stuck and couldn't even put it on neutral to even try to push my car down the hill... scary and dangerous...ummm never again. So what a waste of time getting there, it was so overcast I couldnt see anything with all the fog in broad daylight. I was just trying to get the hell out of there and didnt even get the chance to drive around and find this suppose midgetville located in Mount Soledad. Does anyone at least have an address or cross street to the exact place? Well anyways it will be a different car I'm taking for sure this time... that was a close one!
Posted by Long Beach Native  in  Long Beach, CA  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  07:10 PM
Ok, so I want to find this midgetville,land, or whatever it is. Are the directions from one of the previous posts accurate? Someone let me know!
Posted by Robyn  in  Highland Village  on  Sun Jul 06, 2008  at  04:10 AM
Okay for all you Cali people, this is for you! My friends and I have been looking a looking for Midgetville for the past couple of years. I once went with a guy who grew up in Long Beach but I could never find it on my own once I went back. It's right off of Long Beach Blvd. and Del Amo. I can't remember the exact streets names. But if you go down a dead end street you'll find a midget's house. It's actually for rent right now. It's a full on little person's house. It's crazy to see how small that thing is. You could rent it for like 3,000 a month. It's gorgeous; me and my friend got a flyer so we could see the pictures of the inside. And as for the rest of the little houses (they're there). You could see the little small windows and the low door handles. It's crazy. If you
Posted by Bri  in  Santa Fe Springs, CA  on  Sun Jul 06, 2008  at  03:51 PM
does anyone know where Zoobeyville is? I think it is in the valley in Delaware, maybe over the line in PA.
Posted by Jason  in  Delaware  on  Sun Jul 06, 2008  at  09:14 PM
Don't waste your time trying to find Midgetville in Claremont...trust me it doesn't exist. I have lived in Claremont all of my life and have wasted a lot of time searching for Midgetville that doesn't exist. I know the exact location that it is supposed to be but I know for a fact that there are no midgets there. I later found out it all started as a rumor based on a paper that a high school kid wrote, it's all from a made up story. There is a lady that lives in the area that chases people out because she gets tired of all the different kids showing up trying to find this Midgetville. She watches the street like a hawk and will call the police on people she finds up there. It would be cool if this place really did exist but sadly it doesn't.
Posted by Chris A.  in  Claremont, Ca  on  Sat Jul 19, 2008  at  02:17 PM
I haven't seen anyone mention the little village that is in south San Jose, CA on the way to one of the state parks. I can't remember which state park we were going to, when we came across little houses on each side of the narrow street. We didn't see anyone. It was so random to find this place.

There was also a rumor of a Midgetville in Alamance County, North Carolina. When I was in college near Chapel Hill, we drove to this place that was rumored to have little people climbing the trees at night throwing rocks at intruders. Of course nothing happened. Anyone know anything about that?
Posted by Jen  in  Palo Alto, CA  on  Mon Jul 28, 2008  at  02:56 AM
midgetville in virginia is NO MORE!!!
sadly, midgetville in vienna, virginia is no more, the last of the houses (even the trees!) have succumbed to the bulldozers of the developers :(
i have pics at my myspace page (myspace.com/norotik) of the desolation. as a slap in the face the destruction crews placed one of the large brick entrance gate structures on top of a huge gravel heap. fuckers! go here --> http://www.keepmidgetville.com/ to see what it USED TO look like before the bastards tore it down.
i thank any of those that wrote letters and emails to try and stop the carnage but i guess the greed of the developers was too great a force to battle.
Posted by mike  in  vienna, virginia  on  Mon Jul 28, 2008  at  08:40 AM
JIMI of Riverside, there is a copy of the DVD you asked about at the Riverside Library, held usually at the Casa Blanca branch. You can check it out.
Posted by L. Madsen  in  San Bernardino  on  Sat Aug 02, 2008  at  12:07 AM
I want a munkin for my own,.
Posted by secret squirrel`  in  san diego  on  Mon Aug 04, 2008  at  11:50 PM
Wonder if this was at least part of the creation of the San Diego story (read third to last paragraph):

http://www.sandiegohistory.org/calpac/35expo99.htm

And there's some postcard pictures of the "midget village" here:

http://www.sandiegohistory.org/calpac/cardlist/midget.htm

This certainly accounts for certain elements of the story such as the location (San Diego), the time period (the '30's), and why nobody has been able to be able to find the real "village" since...

As for the Long Beach location, my boss who has lived in Long Beach his whole life 1) has always heard that the place is real, but 2) has personally been to most of the neighborhoods posted on this comment thread and can confirm that they are NOT midget villages (he seems to think the 'real' midget village was demolished years ago, and is going to ask his parents if they know anything about it). And I have played golf at Virginia Country Club, and can assure you that the houses built along the golf course are NOT designed for midgets, but rather for giant egos...
Posted by fac429  in  Long Beach, CA  on  Thu Aug 14, 2008  at  06:40 PM
The midget town in Long Beach is real... you will not be able to see the homes from the golf course because the homes are facing the other side towards the metro blue line tracks... If you are familiar with the country club entrance, the midget village would be located at the dead end of that street past the gated entrance, left of the bixby museum where the adobe homes are located. so the street which is virgina street...you would go all the way to the dead end and fork left and to the right is the gate... the homes are deep in there... I have seen the homes myself. Its not all midgets that occupy that gated community but majority does... and I did see a midget in the home through the window watching tv... the two story houses were literally as high as a one story... you will know you are going the right way because if you were ever to enter past the gate to your right will be a white home that has a huge door with the door knob way low... you pretty much have to go towards different coldesacs to find random miniture homes. They try to mix the smaller homes to blend with the regular size homes...but its REAL!
Posted by Long Beach Native  in  Long Beach, CA  on  Wed Aug 20, 2008  at  04:09 AM
where is the one in long beach everyone says there is one but no one tells you how to really get there directions ppl! if you oud that would be great!


i have to include that i did not read all the comments above
Posted by xlink82x  in  so cal  on  Sun Sep 07, 2008  at  02:15 AM
We called it Munchkin Land, and it did exist. I grew up in Pacific Beach and remember there being three homes, then in the early 80's there were two. I had seen them many time and they do look smaller. However I will not discount the idea of an optical illusion.
About the story of the four bridges, I only ever found three and don't believe there are four.
Posted by R.T.  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Mon Sep 08, 2008  at  02:19 PM
I have been to the midgetville near Riverside, Ca and it is very intresting. One of my friends told me there is a 'wicking colony' about a mile west of it, i plan on making a hike up there in the near future even though he says signs are posted stating "no laws are prohibited beyond this point" eh i can run.
Posted by vince  in  upland, ca  on  Tue Oct 07, 2008  at  09:09 PM
When I was younger (in high school) my friends and I were really high and then they took me to a place in Long Beach,CA and they said they were taking me to Midgetland (I am afraid of little people) and I was so scared. My friends told me that they defend themselves from big people and a group of them could rock the car if they spotted us. This was scary. Does anyone know what streets this is on?
Posted by julie rowan  in  Chino Hills, CA  on  Thu Oct 23, 2008  at  04:39 PM
The one in Long Beach CA. is real, ived been there and was yelled at when i tried to take a picture infront of a small wooden mailbox. Its really scary up there at night and you wont find it unless you know what to look for. There's other creepy stuff around there too. I would advise anyone not to go there, seriously. After I told my friends where it was at, they all had bad experiences as well. Just drop it you guys and leave them alone, they dont want to be botherd, I would know. If you do go, please be prepared, they'ved been there a long time now and they know how to deal with people who are there to stare at them. If i could, I would even post a picture of what they did to my car, no joke.
-Sty
Posted by Sty  on  Tue Nov 18, 2008  at  01:43 PM
Sorry Sty, I call bullshit on that one.
Posted by JIMI  in  951  on  Tue Nov 18, 2008  at  01:52 PM
Call bullshit all you want jimi, I got a busted rear bumper and three other people that went with me that say otherwise
Posted by sty  in  Long Beach  on  Tue Nov 18, 2008  at  03:14 PM
You're on a "public" street, your car gets vandalized by a couple midgets & all you do is tuck your tail between your legs & do nothing about it besides warn others not to go there? You should have pressed charges & sued until you OWNED that little house. You could have given tours after that. Your "story" may have some truth in it, but I STILL think it's far from totally truthful.
Besides, I have spoken to numerous friends that have gone to that place (all three places that I've heard of) and not a single one of them could verify the existence of a true midget row of houses. There are actual midgetvilles or whatever name you want to give them, but I STILL have no verification of a real one in Long Beach.
IF you have proof of such a place, post a photobucket or some other online photo album & I'll be the FIRST to apologize to you & make the trek on out to that location. Hell, I'll even buy you a beer at the nearest tiny pub in the area. PLEASE prove it, I WANT to be wrong on this one.
I have pics that I took & old pics of the one in Riverside. It did exist, but it's been gone for about 6 or 7 years now.
Posted by JIMI  in  951  on  Tue Nov 18, 2008  at  03:27 PM
A freind of mine gave me the address to check it out, so i went with three other people all equiped with camcorders and cameras. When we went the only mistake we made was that we drove pass it afew times which probably made us look suspicious. The first few times we past it we recorded it, which i stiil have the recording, but i knew that since the midget mailbox and the midget hand rail were both small you wouldnt be able to tell how small they really were in video, so i told my friend who was driving to pass it again and i told everyone to take a picture of me infront of them to see how small it really was. I ran infront of it and as i soon as i reached it a little person yelled at me, "get out of here, you dont belong," i completely freaked out and ran back inside the car and we got out of there quick. The people in the car were so scared they froze and didnt take the picture. I took one using my phone as i was runing back in the car but it came out blurry. As we were leaving they through some stuff at the car. we were all so scared we just kepted going, when we all got back home we realized what happened to the cars rear bumper. since my friend was driving my car i decided to take the loss and realized i would probably be the one who got in trouble if i decided to get the police involved. And its not a midget row of houses, its only a few houses and there kind of scatterd around. Again, you really have to know what to look for or youll just pass it. and if you go at night the streat lights are few and far between so it really dark.
Posted by sty  in  long beach  on  Tue Nov 18, 2008  at  03:50 PM
Midgetland is REAL in Long Beach, CA (Bixby Knolls) For all that needs an address the entrance gate is to the left of this location/landmark... you can't miss it because its a sure dead end. To your right is the Country Club Golf Course, ahead is Rancho Los Cerritos where all the historic adobe houses are located and to your left is the main gate that leads to the road of secluded houses... midget homes mixed withe regular homes... behind that is another gate that leads up a road to a private residence.

Like I said here is the address and you will go to the dead end and to your left is a gate that lets traffic going in and out...

4600 Virginia Road
Long Beach, California 90807
Posted by Long Beach Native  in  Long Beach, CA  on  Thu Nov 20, 2008  at  01:13 AM
Im a little person and I live in this so called midget town in LB, can you guys please leave us alone. We are not animals to stare at.
Posted by Sam  in  Long Beach  on  Thu Nov 20, 2008  at  04:48 PM
Hey Long Beach Native why dont you post your adress so we can come stare at you at night, well se how you like it, retard. How old are you?
Posted by Sam  in  Long Beach  on  Thu Nov 20, 2008  at  04:51 PM
Shut up midget, Im going to catch you and make you be my midget butler. I say we pick a date and all go at the same time, they cant stop us all. What do you guys say?
Posted by Midget Hunter  in  Long Beach  on  Fri Nov 21, 2008  at  01:00 PM
Im in~!
Posted by Red  in  Downey CA  on  Fri Nov 21, 2008  at  01:20 PM
Awe c
Posted by JIMI  in  951  on  Fri Nov 21, 2008  at  03:19 PM
lol at midget butler. I want one too!!
Posted by duke  in  Carson CA  on  Sun Nov 23, 2008  at  11:32 PM
hey all normal size people, me and a bunch of friends are planning an attack on a local midgetville we want it quick and easy kill all destroy all
Posted by midget killer  in  CA  on  Sun Nov 30, 2008  at  09:03 PM
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