A miniature copy of the September 3, 1936 edition of The Daily Colonist is just one of the intricate details found in Hodgson House, a dollhouse recently donated to Miniature World.
Gordie Hodgson was a carpenter and craft house builder. When not building structures, he could be found in his basement, meticulously building dollhouses. His latest – and possibly his crowning glory – will soon join others already on display in the tourist attraction.
Hodgson, who died in 1980, spent decades in his hobby. Three other dollhouses he made are already on display at Miniature World: the Tara dollhouse, St. Mary’s Church and the English Tudor mansion.
“Her work was a source of pride for the family,” said Roseanne Harvey, her great-niece. “He and my great aunt, Kay, would go crazy over the details.”
The two were building what they could and ordering the rest by mail order. Handmade items would include cross stitch rugs on the floors and all the architectural details of a two story house.
Attention to detail is evident in this Lilliputian world of tiny household furnishings, like a hairbrush and a bottle of perfume revealed inside a dresser drawer in the bedroom.
“As children we were never allowed to touch them,” said Harvey, who inherited the house after his great aunt passed away in 2017.
She suspects that her great-aunt and uncle kept this dollhouse because it was different from the others – the front of the house is hinged, so it can be opened to admire the contents inside.
The other houses in Miniature World have fixed walls, so you have to look out the windows to see the interior.
She noted that portraits of family members hang on the walls, which gives her a more personal touch.
She donated the house to Miniature World due to a lack of space in her basement and the desire to see her go to a good house.
Hodgson House will undergo a cleaning and renovation “to make it look beautiful” before it is on display, said Megan Kellar, attraction manager.
“Miniature houses are a labor of love for the people who created them. More often than not, they’re riding on precision for the period they’re representing, ”Kellar said.
“It makes all the houses that the Hodgsons built very special.”
The attraction has a room dedicated to dollhouses, with seven on display and three more in storage.
She said the dollhouse deals are “not a call we get a lot” because it is sort of a dying hobby. However, she said the internet has made it easier for hobbyists to find materials and connect with others who are still interested in continuing the business.
“We have our own measure of interest – we measure it by the number of frontal caries we find on the plexiglass that surrounds an exhibit. The more cavities indicate that people are excited to see the exhibit and want to come closer to examine it.
“We always clean in the dollhouse bedroom.”
© Colonist of the time of copyright