Matt constructed several of the smaller rides in his front yard on Tamarind in Compton. The airplane and car rides, and an early chariot ride, may have been moved to Tiny Town from there. I remember a swing ride, simple metal seats on chains, clearly made from scratch. Like the airplanes, centrifugal force was the attraction here. The Tiny Town Ferris wheel, tiny though it seemed, even then, was a chance for a child to safely go up high and look down on what we called ‘the lot’. The aforementioned rides, and the indoor boat ride comprised the smaller rides, suitable for little children.
Tiny Town also had a second, much larger boat ride. You can clearly see it in the aerial photo. Affording the opportunity to steer your own boat and power it with a foot pedal, this ride was a hands down favorite. Their two-stroke engines were noisy and smelly, but what fun!! The waterway was shaped like a huge donut, with an island in the middle. Our all-white cat, Mr. Runnels, swam over to the island every evening to hunt. Yes, he had a permanent, oily ring around his neck from swimming in that oily water.
Sometimes in winter, different carnival folk (carnies) would show up and ask Matt if they could set up a ride on the lot. Occasionally he said yes, and so sometimes Tiny Town was enhanced by a rock-o-plane or tilt-a-whirl. These were not kiddie rides! Nor were their hardened owner/operators, deeply-tanned traveling men with indistinguishable accents, anything like the usual TT employees. So, yes, visiting rides were fun. But Matt was incredibly careful and checked out all the machinery himself. In principal, he believed that traveling carnivals were unsafe, and he didn’t want us kids to take a ride on any temporary lot.
Click on any photo to see a bigger version of it.
Click on link or photo to watch Tiny Town video
Everywhere I go I run into people who remember Tiny Town. This movie was provided by our UPS man who, it turns out, attended Tiny Town often in the late 50’s. You’ll see him here, the darling little boy, with his mom, dad and sister. You can get a good look at the carousel, the cars, swings and ferris wheel in operation.