Small West

History in Wood and Nails

By Keith Knight

Photos by Lillian Baumgart

A neighbor stopped by for a visit at my home shop in Hayden one afternoon and as we sat around shooting the breeze, he mentioned that one of his other friends did some remarkable things with miniature western buildings in his shop. Rather puzzled, I inquired if he meant dollhouses.

“Nope,” he said, “not even close.”

He suggested we head over there the next day and I agreed.

If I’d had preconceived ideas about what these buildings could be, they evaporated in one jaw-dropping second. As soon as I walked into Paul Baumgart’s shop, I was floored. These weren’t just incredible buildings, but also derricks, covered bridges, huge replicas of railroad trestles, and all of them with details—such detail that even the details had detail. I was so impressed with his craftsmanship that I had to know the whole story.

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