Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Midget Town

Map 7477 Hillside Drive, La Jolla, California 92037

Where are the midgets?

I actually get this question a lot, so I finally decided to make an entry for it. No I don't know where the midgets hang out. No I don't know where an entire town populated only with midgets exists. I've heard rumors of one near Downieville, one near Long Beach, and one near La Jolla, but have yet to hear or see any proof.

Where's the story of a Midget Town from? Well it varies. Most of the time it refers to the actors who performed on Wizard of Oz in 1938 going off and forming their own community. Other times, it's towns set up by Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus. Every now and then, it is stories of vicious, angry midgets who are mean little monsters that adhere to cannibalism and white slave trafficking. Yeah, when it comes to midgets, apparently you get all types.

It should be stated though that the 124 midgets that performed in the Wizard of Oz in 1938 were all housed at the Culver Hotel and Adams Hotel in Culver City. Of course, endless rumors of their antics during their stay have been perpetuated.

It should also be pointed out that the La Jolla midget town probably comes from the following source: In the 1950s the newspaper, La Jolla Light, apparently ran a Halloween joke talking about the little munchkins of the hills celebrating the holiday. This led people to go up Mount Soledad looking for the little peoples' houses. There they discovered four bungalows up on the side of the hill that although normal sized, when viewed from above give the appearance of being miniature sized due to their abnormally sized roofs designed to give better shelter from the hot sun. Of course, visitors to the area, upon seeing four midget sized bungalows created all sorts of urban legends ranging from the aformentioned circus performers or Wizard of Oz actors to Chinese smugglers and middle of the night signal light flashes to boats off shore. Those adventuring at night in the area even told tales of evil dwarf sightings. All of it, obviously, not true.

Additional info on these La Jolla homes states that there were originally four (only one supposedly remains) and they were built by architect Cliff May. Their "short stature" is attributed to an optical illusion caused by the hill slope they were built upon. The houses are of normal dimensions for houses built back in the 1930s. The one remaining house can be found on the northwest side of Mount Soledad. Take Torrey Pines Road to 7477 Hillside Drive. There you will be able to see how the road is higher than the floor of the house, which when combined with the roof and the small wall in front of the front door of the house, creates a sort of optical illusion giving the appearance that the house is shorter than it should be.

According to other stories though, there is a gated community of midgets in Long Beach called "Midget Town" somewhere around the Bixby Knolls area. The stories usually involve some kid hitting a baseball over the community's fence, and upon climbing over the fence to retrieve the missing ball, the kid is chased out by angry mean looking midgets. The Long Beach Midget Town has also been linked to somewhere around Long Beach Boulevard and Pine Street. And the stories, of course, link it to the actors in the Wizard of Oz, stating that the actors thought there would be more lucrative Hollywood jobs and wished to set up a community close enough to the area.

Additionally there are rumors of other midget towns outside California, in New Jersey and another outside Washington D.C. Most of the rumors involve stories about these towns being set up by Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus. Although I would like to know if such a town or community exists, I strongly advise against anyone going and visiting or harassing such a community. These are people's homes we are talking about.

There was also a Midget Village exhibit at the California - Pacific Expo in San Diego in 1935 and 1936. Some pictures are located at

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First Created: 2009-10-30
Last Edited: 2015-07-14

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