Near Northport, a man finds renewal in his 'Tiny Town'
Not far from the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, handmade, dollhouse-sized buildings line 91-year-old Trevor Jones’ driveway. He calls his creation "Tiny Town."
It’s a project he’s been working on for the past seven years, since the death of his wife Kay. They’d been married for more than 50 years, and after she died, Trevor could feel himself sinking into depression.
“I had a terrible time,” he says. “You live with somebody that long.”
He knew he needed to get busy. So, as a trained woodworker, he began building Tiny Town.
The idea first came to him in the late 1980s, when he and Kay were driving out west. Near Denver, they came across a larger Tiny Town of buildings for children.
“The cutest one was the town jail, with a kid looking out between the bars,” he says.
Trevor knew he wanted to make a smaller version for his own property, but put the idea on hold for decades. Then, after his wife passed away, Tiny Town gave him something to focus on.
He started out by making a four-room horse stable. Then, he built a schoolhouse and a church, both of which have brass bells in their steeples. His buildings are constructed almost entirely out of salvaged wood fashioned into homemade Lincoln Logs. But he doesn’t use blueprints.
“It’s all done from my mind. I say, ‘Well I’ve got a board or a piece of plywood that’s so big and I’ll fit it to that,’” he says.
Tiny Town also has a hotel and cafe, a barn, several cabins and a sawmill with an electric-powered water wheel.
Trevor says that with his wife gone, Tiny Town has given him a creative way to pass the time. He’s made thirteen buildings so far, and is looking forward to the next one.
“You have to change your way of thinking,” he says. “You know it’s not going to go back like it was, so you have to move ahead.”