From Candy Jean Halverson, granddaughter of Harry and Bea Matthews
Hello out there to all Tiny Town fans. Imagine my surprise to learn that there are those of you who remember Tiny Town, and who want to exchange photos and memories with others who visited my grandfather’s dream, Tiny Town Kiddieland Park. Harry Curtis Matthews, known as Matt, was a man of considerable ingenuity and compassion. A philanthropist and champion of the underdog, he turned his passion for building kiddie rides in his front yard into a thriving business and center of fun for young and old. Apparently Matt was an engineer and builder as well. Back then we kids didn’t even know that Matt had built many of the rides himself.
Your enthusiasm has inspired me to get out the old scrap books, search the web for Tiny Town memorabilia and begin conversations with visitors, former employees, and children of celebrities who appeared there. As a result, I decided to create this Tiny Town web site and Facebook page, where we can all share pictures and impressions from those bygone days when family fun was only a few blocks or miles away, and riding the merry-go-round cost a mere ten cents.
Check out our Facebook page by clicking on the link to the right that say’s “Like” our Facebook Page.
My mom took me and my brother to Tiny Town many times. And I watched the tiny town movie and remember the chairs that I loved so .any goods times. Tha KS for the trip down memory lane. We lived in Lawndale at the time.
My grandmother used to take my cousins and I to Tiny Town as a special treat… More than 60 years later, I can remember the excitement we felt when we were told we were going…and how much fun we has there.
I wish I could find more information and photos to share with my family who look at me like I am crazy when I tell them about it.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES 💖
Thank you Kelley for sharing your childhood memories with us all. Tiny Town Park was a special place in many children’s memories, which is why we created this site. To share all the pictures, articles, and history that we had, with people like yourself.
I used to walk to Tiny Town with my brother (ages 4 & 6) about 63 years ago. I just thought of it and can’t believe I found something through Google. I would love to see any old pictures!!!
Thank you, Lynda, for sharing your memories. Did you look around the rest of the website? There are many pictures of Tiny Town and famous people who came to the events there.
Wow, 50+ comments and no mention of Carolina Cotton or Doye O’Dell, two fantastic entertainers of the era! Both had Tiny Town named after them at different times.
Hi Bill Smith, I’m taking a wild guess here that you did not look over the website before making that comment as we have two pages dedicated to both Carolina Cotton and Doye O’Dell Under the Celebrities tab (Stars of the West). Just because no one made a comment about them does not mean we haven’t paid homage to them. Here are the links in case you can’t find them tinytownpark.com/celebrities/stars-of-the-west/carolina-cotten/, tinytownpark.com/celebrities/stars-of-the-west/doye-odell/
Hi Candace! Loved Tiny Town! Will always be a memory of a great time growing up! Remember when you and my sister Jeanne started playing the violin! Then we were all in orchestra together with Clari Haney, Cathy Bolsover, Carol Cohoon, Roberta Haft, Karen Ruoff, Denny Turner, Roy Masonheimer, Bill Delaney, Spencer Covert, Terry Lane, Wayne Harmon and many others I could name! I still have lasting friendships with many! I now live in Tempe, Arizona and Jeanne is in WA on Whidbey Island. Hope all is well with you!
Kathy Goodhue Vinyard
Hi Kathy. Sure, I have many fond memories of your family. Yes, Jeanne, Roberta and I were close friends. I can picture your back yard, your mom and dad, your dachshund, and I recall many good times at your house. I’ve visited friends on Whidbey, years ago, but never knew that Jeanne was there. Yes, friends from the old days are spread far and wide. I live in Northern California near Santa Rosa. I’d love to hear more from those who remember our orchestra days. Be sure to share the TT link with everyone on your list. I’m sending you a photo (for you to id) to your email address. I hope to hear more from you. Candace English
So excited to find this site and the face book page! While on the Southern California Nostalgia face book page, there was a share about another children’s park, and the name Tiny Town popped into my mind! What a delight to find photos and the history of Tiny Town. I was born in 1950, and these memories come from when I was about three or four years old. The photos of the boat ride, carousel and pony rides cinched the memories.
I left you a message on the Tiny Town Facebook page. I’m writing a book on old amusement parks of CA and would like to include some of these photos. Please let me know how I can contact you.
I lived a few blocks from Tiny Town and spent a lot of time there because I was friends with Candy Halverson. I went to Emerson Elementary and Roosevelt Jr High. We moved out of the area in the middle of my 9th grade year. The memories from that time are very vivid. Hoping this finds Candy doing well.
Oh, I remember Tiny Town. I lived on the corner of Harris Ave across from Kelly Park and school. Loved going to Tiny Town as a child. Barbara Tapp Barnum
WOW! A flash from the past never expected. Eddie (my brother) and I would ride the merry-go-round and explore around the place.
As we grew older, Eddie had a part time job at the near by bowling alley as a pin setter. One of our neighbors spent a lot of time there in a bowling league.
Thanks for bringing back a memory of times as a youth.
Hi, just wondering if you have any pictures of theCarousel and or carousel horses?
I hope you had a chance to look at the other pages I have on the site. I have pictures of many things that were at Tiny Town Park, including the carousels and the horses, other rides, celebrities and more. Here is the link to the page with the carousel https://tinytownpark.wordpress.com/rides/carousel/
I just found this site today. In 1952 I got a work permit and began to work at Tiny Town and the Bowling Alley on Long Beach Bl. until 1954 or maybe 1955. Smith’s Market (the Colonel who owned the Herald American Newspaper) was
east of the Park and Roosevelt Jr. High, on the west. Pay (by Bea) was 50 cents an hour. My favorite ride to run was the Merry Go Round, the timer was an hour glass filled with sand (for 3 minutes} and there was a long wooden handle to start the ride that engaged the drive belt! Sometimes, I didn’t always set the timer when I was supposed to! On the rear of the trains was a large placque that read: “Follow the Hearts To Solida Colo” Sorry, at this age, I am trying to remember the horses.
It was great to read your comments on the Tiny Town website. Wow, I am surprised to learn that the merry-go-round ride lasted only three minutes. To me it seemed much longer! Do you remember Harry and Bea’s granddaughter, Candy? I would’ve been around seven or eight years old when you worked there.
“Follow your hearts to Salida, Colorado” is a reference to the town where they lived before starting their migration across the western United States. That journey, which lasted two years, with Nana in a wheelchair, three teenagers, a dog and the family belongings in one car, brought them to Southern California—and the dream of Tiny Town was born.
Thank you for sharing your memories.
Does anyone remember Zucker and Zucker kids amusement park ?
My Daddy would occasionally leave work early and come get me at nursery school—always during nap time. He took me to a wonderful little fun park called Tiny Town in Compton and I got to ride the ponies. $.25 a ride. One ride only. I LOVED IT!
Candy Halverson: How I would have loved to know that your grandpa built, owned and ran it—and to tell my Daddy so many years later when he was ‘chair-bound ‘ with emphysema! He would have loved to know your granddad as I’m hoping you and I can so belatedly get better acquainted in our 70’s !
Jane Schneck Dagerman
Thank you for sharing your fun memories of Tiny Town park and your grandfather with me.
I’m amazed that this one tiny”town” in Compton, such a long ago, is still a fun and exciting memory to so many!
I remember trying to get up the courage to go on the roller coaster for the first time! Sometimes my mother would let me walk to Tiny Town while she shopped in Coles market, and then afterwards we’d wait for the yellow cab to take us back home to Greenleaf street.
Tiny Town, Compton Theater, Alondra Drive-in, A&W root beer, Cy’s Pizza, The Pike, are just some of the places that are not around anymore, but thankfully they were there then, and they will always live in our hearts.
Thanks for the memories Tiny Town and the family that built it for everyone to enjoy!
Thank you for sharing your memories of Tiny Town Park and the neighborhood. This is why the site was built, so that we could all share in these memories.
I am now 67 years old. Tiny Town has a special place in my heart and memory. I have 2 friends whose families moved to the OC in the sixties. We were up up in Oakland and there was a small amusement park. My friend said it looks like Tiny Town! I did not know that we both went there as kids! I am proud to say I am a member of the Tiny Town alumni group.
Thank you for sharing your memories. We are proud to have you in the Tiny Town Alumni group!
What an incredible surprise to find this web page. I have just turned 70, my mom took my brothers and me to Tiny Town all the time when we were little. One of my earliest childhood memories is being there with probably cousins and it was probably someone’s birthday. I was really small, maybe three or four years old, and wanted to go on the Merry Go Round really bad! But it really scared me! So, I just thought if everyone else went on it first, and came off alive and intact, then I could go on it and all would be right with the world. So that was my plan, but nobody else knew it or understood. So when everyone else was done, then I wanted to go on it, but it was now off to something else, or time to go home, and all I could do was cry. I remember my mom being really mad at me for being a crybaby. They just never understood. So cool to see a picture of the actual carousel. Thanks for putting this together.
Thank you for taking the time to share your childhood memories. It was a trip down memory lane for me putting this site together and I’m happy it can be the same for others.
I loved Tiny Town! I have the best memories of being with my Grandmother there. Thank you for bringing them back to share with my kids!
Growing up in Compton, Tiny Town was a fun place to go to as a kid! My brothers, sister and I would cut through Roosevelt Jr High to get to Tiny Town. I think I remember a small ferris wheel there. But I certainly remember the ponies and the train. It was sad to see it slowly diminish in size as development came in.
I remember the ponies, because that’s all my sister talked about!
Hi Cary. Thanks for sharing your memory. Yes there was a small Ferris wheel in permanent residence, but the big wheels, like the Rock-o-plane, were brought in by seasonal carnies traveling around the country with their ride (broken down to component parts) in the back of a semi trailer. Matt allowed us kids to ride the rock-o-plane that wintered at TinyTown, but he always cautioned us against the dangers of traveling carnivals.
I would walk to TT by myself some days to see the ponies. I never felt lonely when I was there.
Cary, this is Richard Teague, i remember your Dad’s barber shop, you playing baseball at Kelly park and going to Whaley jr high.
My older brother sister and I we’re all born in Compton and a place called Victory Park. I believe it was off of Rosecrans Boulevard. My brother and sister and parents are all gone. I remember Victory Park as a lot of houses all spread out only huge property. And I remember a park. Can anybody give me any information about Victory Park? Thank you very much
My family lived in Victory Park also from maybe 1950 to 1958. I am waiting for mom to call me back and I will send more info. My families name is McMillan from Canada.
Was visiting with my 84 year old father-in-law and he was talking about how that Tiny Town was his first job working the train ride and boats.
Hi Beth. Thanks for being in touch. I hope your father in law had a chance to see the Tiny Town site. What is his name?? He must have had mechanical ability and people skills if Matt had him working on those rides. Yes, I remember many of “the boys” who worked for my grandfather. Kenny Eckhart, Jimmy Wallace, Clay Schofield, Frank Williams and Lee Hall, who gave me my first kiss.
I remember having my 7th Birthday Party at Tiny Town..I remember you as Candy, a little girl.My aunt was aunt Jean.I remember your grand mother..I think she was my aunt Jean’s Mother. I remember your sister Sherri and your mother who I believe was my aunt Jean’s sister. So long ago. Tiny Town was such a fun place.
Hello Jean. Yes I remember you and your parents John and Ruth and swimming in your beautiful pool. I remember the Christmas when your Dad gave my Uncle Bill, his brother, a brand new 1955 Chevy. Thanks for being in touch. I’m so happy to hear from you.
Sweet memories and it is great that you still have them!
My gosh. Tiny Town. Matt was the first person I knew that drove a Cadillac. My mom and dad, Ray & Helen Spicer use to kid him about showing off by driving that big old black Caddy. Matt always said the Cadillac was a poor mans car. If you could get it paid for it would run forever.
I worked in the snack shack for a couple of years. Can’t think of the ladies name that I worked for. I was only about 8 or 9 when I worked there.
My brother-n-law Jim Wallace worked the ponies. My sister Carol worked several of the rides. I grew up at Tiny Town. Every weekend. Mom & Dad were good friends of Matt and his wife.
Wow.l Thanks for your memories. I think it was a 1953 Cadillac. NaNa (Mrs. Matthews) kept the car garaged for years after Matt’s death in 1956. We would take it out for outings on holidays or other special occasions. The young people who worked at Tiny Town were my friends and played a big role in my life. I remember Jimmy Wallace. Yes, we were all child labor back then But I loved working at Tiny Town!!
Loved going to Tiny Town in the 50s.
Hi Candy. I don’t know if you remember me, but I went to Jr. High with you in Compton and remember being friends with you and hanging out at Tiny Town with you. My name was Karen Murray but we moved to Gardena when I was in the 9th grade and I lost touch with everyone. I love having these memories come up. Those were good days. Hope everything is well with you. God Bless.
Hello Karen. Thanks for being in touch. I’m not sure that I remember you, and there’s a lot I don’t remember, but I’m glad we knew each other and enjoyed time together at Tiny Town. Yes those were good days and Tiny Town was a tremendous positive influence on my life. I have some other websites, for example: candacenenglish.com or candacenatvigenglish.com or musicintheblood.com. And I’d love to know more about you. Can you send a photo? That will probably jog my memory. Yes, I hope all is well with you too. Best wishes. Candace
I grew up in Gardena and remember Tiny Town with great affection. My mom would take us kids out there on my birthday for many years. I remember the train the best as I love trains. Our pleasures were so simple back then but so rich nevertheless.
So simple but rich nevertheless! Perfect!
Oh, who didn’t love Tiny Town?f My folks used that place as my reward for being a good girl and getting good report cards. I loved that little train and the ponies so much. Wasn’t there a merry-go-round, too? When did it close? That’s where Cole’s Market was built.
I saw the list of children’s celebrities that went to TT – also Engineer Bill was there; I actually got to pull the whistle and win a jump rope there
Did Sheriff John ever a celebrity to show up there? Seems very appropriate for him to go there!
I was born in 1948 and my earliest memories of Tiny Town still live on in my mind… Cannot count the number of times I went there with my parents and brothers and sisters.. Cotton Candy was a favorite… There was a train that circles the little town… We lived in Compton in Victory Park until 1963 then moved to the City of Ontario… I took those memories with me…
Leon Baguley. Boise, Idaho.
We all loved walking over to TT after school. I spent most of the time petting the ponies,
My parents and siblings and other family also lived in Victory Park in the ’50’s. They were from Canada and the name is McMillan. Interesting!
I remember vividly going with my father to Tiny Town. I loved it! I have some pictures somewhere. I’ll look for them and share.
Thank you for sharing your memories of Tiny Town. Love to see any pictures you can find as well.
My Grandma would take mt to Tiny Town and I loved the ponies! I would ride other things, but as soon as I got off them, it was right back over to the ponies! I was crazy about them!
This is just amazing. Such good memories. Each day after school, buying a soda, just being with friends. My best memory is the ponies. I so wanted one.
Thanks for the site. I was born in Bixby Knolls Hospital in June of 1953. We lived until 1955 in Victory Park (a two-story across from the school and a one-story). We then moved to a house one block west of Disneyland. We went to Tiny Town often, and the memories are filed in my head. Both sets of grand parents lived in Compton. Mom’s folks lived on Clark off of Atlantic. They took us to Tiny Town often. Dad’s folks lived in Victory Park as well. They originally lived on Poinsetta. Family mythology has it that Michael McCue was involved with the Chamber of Commerce in the latter part of the “40’s. Thanks again. Ed McCue
Tiny Town was a joy.
Located on the SE corner of the insection of Olive/Alondra blvd and Poinsettia Ave…directly east of the Roosevelt Junior High auditoreum.
The carosel was a classic…however, the boat ride was unique and very different. We walked past on the way to Emerson elementry school. Heath Reality office in a house due North. Cole’s Msrket built on the lot. Saw the Oscar Myer Weinnermobile in that lot….still have the weiner whistle.
Many happy memories.
How well I remember Tiny Town. Especially on Easter Sunday when little baskets were handed out to every child who was there. For my family it was a very special place. Many thanks.
This is so cool, Candace! We all have our stories, and it’s such fun to dig them up and re-experience the excitement we felt as 6-yr-olds or whatever. For me, it was Tilden Park & the old merry-go-round there, in the Berkeley hills. Your playground was filled with other children, how wonderful.