There used to be a land the Munchkin houses in La Jolla, but recent developments and developers have wiped out all but one of these diminutive domiciles. While searching for the elusive locale, a local jogger related the accepted legend: After production wrapped on The Wizard of Oz in 1939, a few of the actors who had played Munchkins, their pockets bulging with MGM cash, decided to move down south and build themselves a tiny town of their own in the tony burg of La Jolla, just north of San Diego. They chose the north slope of Mount Soledad, high over the Pacific Ocean, and retired to obscurity with a million dollar view of the breakers and coastline stretching to the horizon.
Unfortunately, this story is based on nothing but rumors. Some of the stories may have stemmed from the fact that local author L. Frank Baum wrote much of Oz at his home and while partying at the nearby Hotel Del Coronado. Beyond this, there is little or no evidence that the movie midgets had anything to do with the teeny-scale homes, and there is no evidence that a Lollipop Guild suddenly opened for business in 1940s San Diego.
The models were designed by famed architect Cliff May and built in the late 1930s to show off his new California ranch and mission-inspired ideas. They appear to have been sporadically occupied since then, and a woman who no one seems to know much about bought the land and homes a few years ago. Over objections and protests from area residents, she demolished two of the original three homes and built an ostentatious, mansion-like monstrosity that now hugs the hill and completely overshadows the house on Hillside Drive.
Some think that the house only looks lillputian because of the way it is built on a steep slope: the front is on the uphill side, giving the illusion that the place is smaller than it really is; but, a six-foot tall man would actually bump his head going though the front door. No one is living there now, so we went out back to see for ourselves. The roof is so low that almost anyone can touch it. Unless you actually are a Munchkin yourself, the ceiling would probably be only a couple of feet overhead. The kitchen sink is at mid-thigh. The aforementioned six-footer would need to duck through doorways.
With newfound riches flowing into the bank accounts of latter-day stars of dwarf-tossing competitions, perhaps this last home can be saved after all and live up to its reputation. –GB
Following the Yellow Brick Road to Munchkinland
Munchkinland is true. My girlfriend and I found it by accident one night driving around in La Jolla back in 1973. We did not believe what we saw to be true so we went back in the daylight and discovered it was absolutely true. I walked up to a house and knocked on the door pretending to be looking for someone. The door was chin-high (I am 5’6″). The woman who answered the door was a midget and was really quite nice, was amused by my curiosity. The homes are located near Mount Soledad in La Jolla. If my memory serves me well, you will run into the small community by turning left onto Hidden Valley Road from La Jolla Valley Parkway. You can get a map of the area from map quest by typing in the intersection Hidden Valley Road and La Jolla Parkway and the city and state – La Jolla, CA. –Bambi from San Diego
We Welcome You to Munchkinland
I can add a few things to the account of “Midgetville”, on Mount Soledad in San Diego. It’s on the north side of the mountain, overlooking La Jolla Shores, and was originally populated by former Munchkins who had worked on The Wizard of Oz. Because of this, locals call it Munchkinland. –Daveo
We’re Off to See the Midgets
I’m glad you decided to write me concerning the phenomenon of “Midget Town” because it is one of the few things in my life that I take very seriously.
In this email, I will attempt to explain everything I have understood thus far in my search for “Midget Town.” I will try not to make this email too long, but once I get started on a topic like this, it’s pretty hard to stop.
First off, there are several alleged locations of Midget Town, all of which are located in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach. There are many private residential areas in this neighborhood that one can easily attribute to a midget colony. The most convincing one (at least for me) lies adjacent to the Virginia Country Club at the end of a long, dead end street either called “Virginia” or “Country Club” (I can’t remember). As you drive down this street you will see all kinds of “dead end” and “no trespassing” signs designed to deter the casual observer. If you continue down this street, you will reach a checkpoint with a wooden gate and a small button on the left hand side. Despite the threatening signs, all you have to do is push the button and the gate will automatically open. If you drive inside, you will notice that the first house on your left is equipped with a giant front door and doorknobs that look no taller than three feet high. The rest of the houses (as far as I can tell) appear normal. If you continue driving forward you will reach another gate which cannot be opened by non-residents, followed by a third gate which can only be seen in the distance (I have never reached the third gate). Make sure you’re in and out of there pretty quick, because the residents are quick to call security. Also, on your way out, turn right on the first street you see and go about five or six blocks and you will see the house from the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Seeing the house from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” almost makes up for the fact that you got nothing out of this journey other than seeing one house with very low doorknobs.
This is what I have experienced first hand. Of course, it is nowhere near the stories and pieces of folklore which I have heard over the past several years. I have heard stories that midgets will come out and throw bricks at you or shoot BB guns. About six years ago in the Long Beach Press Telegram, Tim Grobaty did a story on the legend of Midget Town, saying there was a rumor that Midget Town started following the filming of The Wizard of Oz, when the munchkin cast members got together and decided to establish their own community in Long Beach. Other than that, the article provided no insights into the realities of Midget Town.
The strangest part to me is that everyone in Long Beach (and beyond) knows about it. Even my friend said that he and his buddies used to go looking for Midget Town when they were young. I’ve also heard of Midget Towns in both Irvine and San Diego (allegedly the one in San Diego has its own McDonald’s). That’s about all the relevant information I can give about Midget Town. My best advice is for you to go and check it out for yourself.
Several of my friends said that they have seen midgets driving and walking around the general area, which I don’t doubt. –Randy Mills
Midgetville in SoCal Is So Cute!
Dear Weird CA;
There is a Midgetville in San Diego, California. It is located on Mt. Soledad, but I couldn’t give you directions–we found it by accident. It is really something to see, small houses and mailboxes its amazing you should really check it out. I can tell you that even though the people that live on this very prestigious mountain deny its existence, it is absolutely there and I have seen it!
I will see if my brother can get directions, he lives in San Diego. The mountain has a large white cross at the top of it. There is a little section where the houses were so small and the doors are small and the mailboxes and everything was so much smaller. You can stand by the houses and almost be as tall as they are. It is so cute!
If you ask anyone in the neighborhood they will tell you it does not exist, but I promise you it’s there. –Teresa
Midgets Up the Mountain
Dear Weird CA;
About Midgetville in San Diego, it is definitely on Mt. Soledad. I lived in San Diego back in 96 and went there many times at night. It’s relatively small, only four or five houses, and it’s on an upward slanted road so the small gates and doors are hard to recognize from the street. I can’t remember the street name anymore, but if I was there I’m pretty sure I could find it. If anyone has a roadmap of the mountain I could probably remember the names of the streets. –Brian
Midget Houses are Pretty Dang Nice
Dear Weird CA:
There’s a dwarf community in San Diego, somewhere in Coranado. The houses all look normal except the windows are low and the doors are small. Pretty dang nice houses too! –Anonymous
Gassed Up in Midgetville
Back in the 1960’s, when I was a teenager, my father, brother and I were returning to Newport Beach from L.A. and got lost in Long Beach where we stopped for gas. We accidentally entered a neighborhood in which everything was miniature––houses, everything. We realized it was a midget community. It was the damnedest thing we’d ever seen, but really adorable. I do not remember exactly where it was located, but have often wanted to go back. –Ann Rislander
Midget Town’s in a Dangerous Hood
There is supposedly this house in Long Beach where this butler killed and hung two children of the house out the back story window. The cops later boarded the windows and the window which the kids were hung out of is facing an alley (Egor’s Alley). Legend has it that if you drive down the alley at night you can still see the blood dripping down the window and wall. midgetThis is located pretty close to another legend: Midget Town by Virginia Country Club. It’s off of Carson, past Atlantic. –Brad Z
Midget Village, Huntington Beach
Dear Weird CA;
Here is mention of a different Midget Village in Huntington Beach, California, that I was able to find on the Internet. This is the one I heard about in Downey. The person I spoke to who drove out there with teenage friends one night years ago (isn’t that always the story?) said there was nothing of interest there. –Chris Koreivo
Fear and Loathing in Midgetville
The Midget Village was off of Clay Street near Goldenwest St… We went there one night very late and got so spooked by it that I thought we were going to be chased by “little people.” We took off and never returned. Scared the hell out of us. –Tim Harvey
A Little Village by the Bay
There is a Midgetville in the Bay Area. I have been there but can not recall if it was San Leandro or where it was. One whole street was little houses. Some Victorians, some bungalows. Just scaled down. You would never really notice unless someone told you. Not like they are four feet tall or anything. Still got the creeps and just wanted to leave. –LMK