Road America, proclaimed as the world’s largest indoor “miniature village”, is closing down after 85 years in business.
The owners announced the closure Saturday on the attraction’s Facebook page, saying they had been trying to find a potential buyer for the past few years, but nothing came to work that was suitable for the Shartlesville, Berks County website. They thanked patrons for their patience over the past eight months during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the permanent closure of Roadside America after 85 years of business,”
Owners said when Roadside America, 109 Roadside Drive and off Interstate 78, were forced to close in March, when Gov. Tom Wolf ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses, they remained hoping a buyer would come forward and commit. As the months went by, the future remained uncertain, it says.
“We ultimately made the difficult decision to do what is best for our family and pursue other options,” it said.
Kl. At 13.30 on Sunday, Roadside America’s Facebook post was shared 2,500 times and had more than 925 comments. People reminded of the small handmade village that became a tourist destination over the decades.
“This news makes me very sad,” commented Lori Robbins. “I hope you will always remember that you provided an experience that entertained, fascinated and moved many thousands of people over the course of eight decades.”
“Very sad news. I have visited several times over the years, first as a child myself and then with children and grandchildren, ”commented Wendy Dietrich. “I enjoyed every time.”
“This is such heartbreaking news,” commented Tracie Soliday. “I am so grateful that I was able to take my kids to see this amazing screen last year. The nostalgia of my childhood was so overwhelming when I entered the building that I had hopes that it would become an annual visit. ”
Owners said they are planning an auction of all exhibits, including exhibit buildings, bridges, figurines and animations. Auction details will be posted on the company’s Facebook page over the next few weeks, the post said.
“This decision was not made without careful consideration and consideration and was ultimately the result of several factors and circumstances,” said owners. “We ask you to be respectful and understanding of our choices in this difficult time, as this has been indescribably heartbreaking for our family.”
Owners added that there are no words to express how grateful they are for valued customers and followers as they have been a part of their family traditions, memories and precious moments.
“It was a blessing to remain a family-owned business for so many years,” they said.
The 6,000-square-foot exhibit showed a panorama of life in the United States. It spanned more than 200 years of history and included more than 300 small buildings, countless parked trains filling packed train yards, and nine fully operational railroads. Visitors were able to control three of the railroads at the touch of a button, and other push buttons allowed them to control an abundance of animations that brought the village to life. There were also real water-flowing waterways, fountains on the hilltop and a giant gorge waterfall, according to its website.
Guests were asked to take their time and explore every inch of the screen, “as the attention to detail is simply phenomenal.”
“No matter how many times you visit, you will always be able to see something new,” the owners had said.
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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann can be reached at email@example.com.