Train Gardens

IMG_0451By Mary Jo

Moving to a new area means discovering new things.  When I moved to Maryland, among the new things I discovered were sauerkraut for Thanksgiving, and train gardens. 

Train gardens, you ask? These are elaborate miniature landscapes with electric trains created at Christmastime, most often in firehouses. They are charming and great fun, and apparently, like sauerkraut, they have German ancestry.

The custom has been traced to 18th century Moravian settlers in the Lehigh Valley of Eastern Pennsylvania.  Christmas trees came from Germany, and apparently in some German areas it was customary to build a little village around the base of the tree.


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Christmas in Miniature

by Mary Jo

There is something very charming about miniatures–ask any doll collector.  The beautiful Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water is famous for having a detailed model of the village itself–and there is even a model within the model. <G>

Bourton model village

And in the Baltimore area, we have Christmas train gardens!  The idea was new to me when I moved to Maryland, but train garden charm is irresistible.  They were often in firehouses, where the firefighters used time between calls to do the painstaking work of setting up elaborate landscapes of town and country and multiple trains.

Train garden overall

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