HO Scale Diorama & Christmas Village

Archive for August, 2017

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Naperville, Illinois – the inspiration for Oak Valley

Our New England ancestors arrived in Naperville (a small town near Chicago) in 1833. At that time, it was a farming community, but the evangelical college had just relocated to Naperville.  It was at the college where our great-grandparents, Guy and Nannie, met and fell in love.  I have great fondness for several small towns of my ancestral towns, but for Oak Valley, I needed a flat terrain with snow.

Naperville has a river, and Oak Valley only has a stream.  In his diary, our great-grandfather, Guy,  mentions taking  Nannie for a buggy ride to see a hill, because she was so homesick for the hills and mountains of East Tennessee.

The Johnson Family



Oak Valley is an imaginary small town in northeast Illinois in 1912, and I like to believe that in 1912 there was a small, but growing, black middle class in Oak Valley.  All manufactures of HO scale figures include black and Asian figures.  Early 1900s figures are becoming scarce, and there are NO black figures in this era.  I have “converted” several individual figures over the years, but always longed for a middle class African American family for Oak Valley.  I need a little more practice with color, but  hope to have more AA residents in the future. I took this photo in the middle of town, so it is fairly dark.  Here’s an image of the daughter, Emeline. Johnson_Daughter