Michael Paul Smith, creator of Elgin Park

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Published on May 24, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Michael Paul Smith composes a photograph of Elgin Park, a fictional miniaturized town from the 1950s.

Smith says Elgin Park is based on his hometown, Sewickley, Pa., a small town seven miles north of Pittsburgh. His family moved to Worcester when he was 16.

Michael Paul Smith's intent in building and photographing a fictional miniaturized town from the 1950s was to catalog the past, but somewhere along the way, he became an Internet sensation after posting his nostalgia-evoking photos on Flickr.

Mr. Smith studies the period through books, catalogs and online sites to ensure the colors are right in the linoleum, wallpaper, paint and furnishings in the exteriors and interiors of the 15 buildings that are located in Elgin Park. To recreate dirt to scale on the roads, he vacuums the rugs and then filters the dirt until it has the right “dirtiness.”

His family moved to Worcester when he was 16. They lived close to the Auburn-Worcester line, and he attended the old Auburn High School. Then he attended classes at the Worcester Art Museum for three years. During those years, Mr. Smith delivered mail out of the main post office.

Video by Dan Gould

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