Chicago 2004
Description of Houses on Thursday's Bus Tour


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Dickens' Anniversary Celebration
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Location #1

This collector started in 1990 by buying the original Alpine Village starter set of five for the top of the fireplace in the enclosed sun porch. The addictive nature of porcelain quickly led to the acquisition of the entire village which now numbers 32 lighted houses. Even after joining a club which was appropriately named the "Village Addicts", the addiction only increased the following year with North Pole Village occupying the top of the closet. A year later Christmas in the City (CIC) started growing in the family room. Moving to a new house in 1994 only provided more room for the collections to grow plus provided space for the addition of the Little Town of Bethlehem (LTB) and the New England Village.  After initially being scattered about the house, the villages (except for CIC and LTB) have found a permanent home in the basement. There will be a few other surprises during your visit as time permits. Each village presents its own challenge in terms of being displayed in a unique , but realistic manner. The goal is to make you feel like you are in a "real village" -- you can be the judge when you visit them.


Location #2

The Dickens' Village, begun in 1984, is based on the life and times of Charles Dickens and can be seen in its entirety at this stop.  It includes rare pieces such as the Village Mill, Chesterton Manor, as well as the Norman Church.  In addition, most of the variations in buildings are included.  For example, both Old Royal Observatories can be seen, all three Flats of Ebenezer Scrooge, and both of the Peggotty's Seaside Cottages are on display. This collection has been recently  moved into a new room specially constructed for the village.  Due to this massive move, the entire village has been renovated with areas based on a variety of themes.   See how the collection has changed over time by comparing the original seven buildings with those issued in 2003.  This exhibit is on permanent display and uses a lot of cotton, plywood, and trees! 


Location #3

This collector has a very extensive collection numbering over 300 lighted buildings.  Specializing in the Snow Village, the matriarch of the villages, this collector has virtually all the houses issued since 1986, including 25 obtained since last year.  There is also a special display with the original six houses, plus several from each year 1976 through 1986 (including 38 more since last year), to illustrate the changes over time.  This display shows some very unique creativity and fills the entire recreation room and, this year, much of the living room.  The collection also includes all four Heinz buildings, two State Farm specialties, the NCC collector sets, Bachman buildings, as well as the Ronald McDonald set of buildings.  In another area, the entire North Pole village is set up which includes two Avon special editions as well as three Santa Bear buildings.  There are three trains running which include the special Department 56 exclusive. Visitors will see a very unique collection with loads of creativity to excite.