Turn-of-the-century Christmas village in miniature

CHRISTMAS VILLAGE: More than 75 hand-painted buildings recreated in the home of Robert and Peggy Hoard provide a glimpse of daily life in late 19th century America — a lively village complete with town square, Main Street, residential streets and horse-drawn wagons and carriages. (Courtesy Photos/Randy Johnston)

CHRISTMAS VILLAGE: More than 75 hand-painted buildings recreated in the home of Robert and Peggy Hoard provide a glimpse of daily life in late 19th century America — a lively village complete with town square, Main Street, residential streets and horse-drawn wagons and carriages. (Courtesy Photos/Randy Johnston)

MARION — Family members, friends, neighbors and holiday guests are charmed by a nostalgic portrayal of a bygone era as they admire the miniature world of a turn-of-the-century American Christmas village recreated in the home of Robert and Peggy Hoard.

The enchanting scene captivates visitors who imagine exploring cobblestone streets, visiting quaint houses and shops, strolling in the parks and singing carols in the churches.

“The village began about 30 years ago,” said Peggy Hoard. “I bought one building, the general store, and I’ve been adding to it every year. My favorite is the church with stained glass windows and a steeple. The best part is planning the layout and design of the display. The worst part is taking it apart and putting it away.”

Robert Hoard enjoys stepping back in time to a way of life that is part of our history.

 LOOK: The town includes a library, post office, hotel, florist, fire station, hospital, school, café, gas station, cinema, yarn shop, candy shop, three churches, train station and courthouse. The sides streets are lined with snug cottages, half-timbered houses and Victorian mansions.


LOOK: The town includes a library, post office, hotel, florist, fire station, hospital, school, café, gas station, cinema, yarn shop, candy shop, three churches, train station and courthouse. The sides streets are lined with snug cottages, half-timbered houses and Victorian mansions.

“I like the horse-drawn fire truck and ice wagon,” he said. “I really enjoy the fact that each building or figurine has its own individual character. Setting up the village is a way to wish folks a merry Christmas. Especially the kids. They’re fascinated by a complete town and all the little figures.”

“The village is outstanding,” said family friend Will Allcorn. “When I first saw it, it was so complete and real I almost expected to see the people walk and talk and the whole village come to life. It’s really delightful.”

The appeal of the Hoard display derives in large part from its creative layout of three distinct areas — an old-fashioned American village surrounded by three farms and a forest — spread across a spacious custom-designed platform measuring 20 feet by 4 feet. The farms and forest are encircled by an electric train.

More than 75 hand-painted buildings provide a glimpse of daily life in late 19th century America — a lively village complete with town square, Main Street, residential streets and horse-drawn wagons and carriages.

The town includes a library, post office, hotel, florist, fire station, hospital, school, café, gas station, cinema, yarn shop, candy shop, three churches, train station and courthouse. The sides streets are lined with snug cottages, half-timbered houses and Victorian mansions.

A Christmas tree stands in the center of the town square near a fountain and park benches.

The entire village is illuminated. The windows of cozy homes and shops gleam and gas street lights cast a cheery glow.

More than 140 figurines bring life to the village. Tiny figures busily work and play in a town bustling with activity. Vendors sell wreaths and poinsettias, dad and children head home with a freshly cut Christmas tree, holiday shoppers search for the perfect gift, carolers sing in the town square and at the train station, a soldier returning home embraces his wife.

Just outside of town, the beauty of the countryside is captured with snow-covered fields, a dairy farm, pig farm and horse stable — complete with animals.

The forest with dozens of snow-dusted pines and birches — along with icy streams, ponds and arched stone bridges — lies just beyond the farms. Forest animals — including a bear, moose, beaver, fox, squirrel and deer — inhabit a magical winter scene.

The Hoards live near Marion on the homestead where Peggy Hoard grew up.

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