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


Okay everyone in Long Beach. I live on La Linda drive. There are no midget houses and no midgets on the drive. Never has been in the history of the drive which you can find out about visiting the Los Cerritos Rancho to learn more about the Bixby mansion and family which owned the drive originally.

We are all a bunch of normal people, nobody under five feet!
Posted by Theresa  in  Long Beach, CA  on  Wed Aug 30, 2006  at  02:59 PM
theres no street "calle de estrella" in anaheim
Posted by eric  in  anaheim, ca  on  Sat Sep 02, 2006  at  12:30 AM
Matt and Dan i live in delaware right before the PA border and i kno exactly where midgetville is and if you guys want directions i can give them to you! my e-mail is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Posted by mike  in  Delaware  on  Fri Sep 15, 2006  at  09:26 PM
The subject came up in class last night of a midgetvillle in Upland or Claremont Ca. Anyone know about it?
Posted by Grandma Alice  in  Fontana, CA  on  Mon Sep 18, 2006  at  02:26 PM
I was just recently back at the one in muskego or mukwanago the one on mystic and everyone has these brand new bright as all hell lights so we were hestinent but we went down anyways and sure enugh half way down the road we here a car door slam and sumeone pulls out behinds us we wipped a shit so fast and got out of there fast good thing we new our way around.

and theres probly a more then few in Cali i dont no anything about em tho.
Posted by Wings goalie  in  Waukesha, WI  on  Mon Sep 18, 2006  at  08:45 PM
where is midegtville located?
Posted by BeBa  in  New jersey  on  Tue Oct 03, 2006  at  08:13 AM
midget town in long beach is my friends and mine's second home. a new gate was just built to keep people out from driving around.

We have yet to encounter an actual midget.. but the rampantly tiny doorknobs and gates suggest the truth.

also in this general area, 'the nightmare on elm street' and 'donnie darko' houses are located.
Egore's alley anyone?
Posted by Dillon Dingwell  in  Huntington Beach, CA  on  Mon Oct 09, 2006  at  07:01 PM
ok, for all you that SWEAR UP AND DOWN that there is a midget town in long beach, you are wrong. well no, there IS a midget town, but there are no midgets there. there are 3 likely places people call midget town. 1 is at the end of country club drive, but if you want to be a pesky annoyance and drive down that way at night, there are 9 times out of 10 cops waiting at the end. another is a gated community about 2 miles away, i had a friend that lived in this gated community (the street is called la linda dr.), and no, there were/are no midgets there either. the third is yet ANOTHER gated community in long beach (all three are in less than a 2 mile radius in the bixby knolls area of long beach), and sad to break the news, this too is not a midget town. i forget the street name, but i grew up in this neighborhood. all three of these areas have huge doors, but the doorknobs are pretty low. the bixby knolls/virginia country club area of long beach is very very upscale, i mean come on, COUNTRY CLUB should give that away. that's why all the communities are gated. if you know about midget town, then you more then likely know about EEGORE'S ALLEY as well, but that's for a different time. gotta love the wonderful long beach folklore.
Posted by joe  in  bixby knolls  on  Thu Oct 19, 2006  at  02:52 PM
what is eegores alley? i heard of the myth of midgetville in long beach, but never of any eegores alley?
Posted by EE  in  south bay, ca  on  Fri Oct 27, 2006  at  01:15 AM
All right.
in wisconsin.
there is a place called haunchyville in Muskego wisconsin on Mystic Drive.
a bunch of midgets live down there.
scary as hell let me tell.
Posted by Zach  in  Waukesha Wisconsin  on  Mon Nov 13, 2006  at  03:12 PM
Can someone please tell me where the one in Long Beach is. I use to go there when I was a teenager but forgot how to get there. Thanks
Posted by Kat  in  Downey  on  Tue Nov 14, 2006  at  03:55 PM
i too live in delaware......and a couple of my friends was talking about the VALLEY and the house....he said that he went up to the house him and some friends and they was looking throw the windows and he said he seen a shadow of a door then it close but theres was no other shadow.....and i heard about midget town you go over a bridge and u drop some coins down and u say u wanna hear a song and some violins fading would start playin thats what another friend said....but i do like hearing this stories so im trying to do a lil research of my own so any one from delaware wanna tell me there story im willing to hear..........
Posted by marie  in  delaware  on  Wed Dec 20, 2006  at  02:18 PM
There is a "midget town" (if you'd call it that, it's 3 houses on a short street) in Greenville, TX. I haven't lived there in years but back in the late 90s I saw it. I can't remember the street name, but it was north of Lee Street and west of Walnut, in an area that was largely black and hispanic. There was this road that went up a very steep short hill and led to a small dirt road that had three houses on the right that looked like normal smallish houses but had little front doors and windows. I too heard that the midgets would get angry if big people went there, but when I went I didn't see anybody.
Posted by Daryl  in  Dallas  on  Thu Dec 21, 2006  at  03:36 PM
There is a midget town, I dont understand why people keep saying there isn't, it's probably because they haven't found it. All the houses look like mansions, you need to drive slow to check out all the features on the houses like the tiny doors, the tiny garages and even the cars parked on the sideways are small! Its crazy! I dont remember how to get there, a guy used his navigator but the roads are very windy, when you're first driving into the village it looks just like mansions but as you start driving more into the village the houses seem to get smaller , we had to make really sharp turns while driving because the road gets tiny as well! It was a really crazy experience, we went at night so we didn't see any midgets but its pretty neat. Those midgets get to live in nice ass mansion-like-houses and there scenary is nice too! They get to over look San Diego. What I have to say is that when you get into midget town, you KNOW you're in there, so if you have to question whether you saw the houses or not, you probably didn't see them. And its not like an attraction, everything is normal, the only thing different is that its smaller
Posted by Keshia  in  San Diego  on  Sat Jan 06, 2007  at  12:49 PM
Midget Town does exit in California. Much respect to the small people!
Posted by LJ  in  California  on  Tue Jan 16, 2007  at  11:15 AM
I recently went to Midget Town in Downey, California. It's not gated anymore. You can drive right by but don't doit at night as the police are on patrol making sure their little people aren't being harassed. I figure go during the day and just drive right through..maybe pretend ur lost or have a back up story in case a little person comes out and you have the opportunity to talk to them. There houses are relatively smaller and so are their trash cans...but pretty normal. I was hoping to see mini houses. Still a good trip. smile
Posted by Mecca  on  Mon Jan 22, 2007  at  06:48 PM
Tiny Town?
By any chance has anyone seen The Terror of Tiny Town? It was made in the 1930's and features a full midget cast. I got my bf his on ebay for like 8 bucks. That movie is awesome. Little midgets riding around in there midget ponys.
I wonder if this is the same town they used in the movie? The midgets on there were pretty creepy but I still made it a point to play some parts in slow motion...sooo funny!
Posted by Mecca  on  Mon Jan 22, 2007  at  07:38 PM
The midget town I know of is still gated with a guard. My cousin was told to back it up. lol He had no idea where he was, just went down the wrong street but not to find that street again. I have been in the area where he was, but never knew it to be midget town. I love the area because of the beautiful homes. The small people purchased homes when it was inexpensive. Now they are living in million dollar homes.
Posted by lj  in  Cali  on  Tue Jan 23, 2007  at  07:45 AM
Wonder if it's the same one. It's actually in Bell Gardens...borderline Downey. I went this past friday and found it with a friend who said he'd been there years ago. Maybe I didn't see a gate cause we might've gone through the back way. Its Chalet Dr. off of Gage Avenue in Bell Gardens. You go south on Chalet and make a left(forgot what steet)but it's on a T . The name of the st is Foster Bridge. We ended up turning right into it and drove through for a while before he told me I should probably back out of there. It was like 1 am so the likl' peeps were probably asleep. It was tricky 'cause it doesn't look like you can turn into the street which is why I think maybe I found a backway in.
The houses don't look very mini. Other than the small gates and relatively smaller doors and trash cans, everything looks normal
Posted by Mecca  on  Tue Jan 23, 2007  at  10:02 AM
I am speaking of LBC altho I preferred not to put the location out there on the net. I cannot believe some peop who say it does exist when I said in my earlier post, my cousin recently visited the area and was told by a guard that this is midgetown and you need to turn around. My cousin looks over and there is a midget coming out of a large home. Good grief! It exist and I am sure there are other areas which I dont know about. I feel everyone's community should be respected altho it would interest me seeing the homes.
Posted by LJ  in  California  on  Tue Jan 23, 2007  at  06:06 PM
I've heard a lot about the one in Long Beach. Lots of people say that it exist, and lots of other people say that "midget town" doesn't exist.. I wanna find out for myself. So does anyone know where "midget town" in San Diego is allegedly located? I heard it's in La Jolla, but if you know where it is, let me know. I have to see it for myself..
Posted by Tara  in  San Diego  on  Thu Feb 22, 2007  at  12:18 PM
the name of the street in santa barbara(montecito) with the midget houses is on perrywinkle lane. its north of the san ysidro exit off the 101n
Posted by robert  in  los angeles  on  Sat Feb 24, 2007  at  02:53 PM
Hi....I hear that these houses were not to be rented, but rather, were to be donated to the little people. The complex was known as "Stay Free Mini-Pads" !!! wink
Posted by Ron  in  Mercer, PA  on  Wed Mar 07, 2007  at  09:38 AM
You can find tiny town by mapquesting 4 peck ave north merick NY, that's the address for the chappel.

Good luck!!!
Posted by Dominick  in  Brooklyn/Queens/staten island ny  on  Sat Mar 24, 2007  at  09:09 PM
does anyone know directions to midgetville on Long Island? ... in seaford or merrick?
Posted by brit  in  New York  on  Fri Apr 06, 2007  at  08:20 PM
take sunrise hwy to merrick ave and make a right then take merrick ave to lee place rd or ave and make right take this straight down and you will see a circular area of the neighborhood, this will lead you to midgetville wink
Posted by Lila  in  NY  on  Tue Apr 10, 2007  at  09:15 PM
i think its funny that they have to donate houses to "little" "little" people cant live in a normal house...its a waste of $ and should be used towards more worthy causes...that are more important...than a "little" house...its cute though...i must admit it ~ its real cute
Posted by Lila  in  NY  on  Tue Apr 10, 2007  at  09:18 PM
Midget are fascinating
Posted by Chris  in  NJ  on  Fri Apr 13, 2007  at  05:29 PM
yes it exists. i'm here's quite lovely actually.
Posted by mimi  in  Midgetownsmallsprings  on  Tue Apr 24, 2007  at  10:44 PM
Fools, the Midgetville on Mt. Soledad in San Diego does NOT have small houses. The little people who live there do not draw attention to it that way. The outside of the houses are more or less normal. You have to peer inside to see. And if you go there at certain times of the year on certain nights, you will see a dozens of midgets dancing and singing.
Posted by Slippy  in  San Diego  on  Tue May 15, 2007  at  04:04 PM
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