More News:

November 23, 2020

Roadside America, Pennsylvania's historic 'miniature village,' closes permanently due to COVID-19

Owners promise auction of display pieces after 'heartbreaking' decision

Attractions Closures

Roadside America was built by Laurence Gieringer in 1935 and was originally displayed in his Hamburg, Pennsylvania home. It has been a public attraction in Shartlesville, Berks County, for 85 years, but has been closed permanently as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, among other factors.

After more than 85 years in business, the historic miniature village Roadside America will shut down due to the strain of the coronavirus pandemic, the owners announced Monday.

Located in Shartlesville, the hand-crafted indoor village has awed visitors for decades since creator Laurence Geringer first built it in 1935. The public display spans nearly 8,000 square feet, depicting a mountainous landscape with trains, bridges, buildings, farmland and more.

Roadside America initially closed in March when Pennsylvania ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down. With cases again surging to record highs across the state and the rest of the country, the owners made the difficult decision to close for good.

We feel it is the appropriate time to provide an update, and we appreciate your patience over the last 8 months. It is...

Posted by Roadside America on Saturday, November 21, 2020

"There are no words to express how grateful we’ve been for every one of you, our valued customers and supporters. We truly feel blessed to have been part of your family traditions, memories and treasured moments," the owners wrote on Facebook. "It has been our honor to care for Laurence’s meticulously handcrafted landscape, and to share our family’s history with so many people. It was a blessing to remain a family-owned business for so many years. We hope you’re all staying safe during this unprecedented time."

The future of the display had been uncertain long before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

In 2018, employees at the attraction launched a Kickstarter to purchase, renovate and relocate the "world's greatest miniature village." It had been placed for sale by the owners around that time. The project raised more than $10,000, but fell far short of its longshot $750,000 goal.

Since then, the owners had continued to search for a buyer to take over the display, but multiple interested parties never committed to buying it.

"As months passed and the future of tourism remained uncertain, we ultimately made the difficult decision to do what is best for our family and pursue other options," the owners said Monday.

All display pieces — including buildings, bridges, figures and animations — will be part of an upcoming auction. Details for the event will be unveiled at Roadside America's Facebook page in the weeks to come.

"This decision was not made without extensive thought and consideration, and was ultimately the result of multiple factors and circumstances," the owners said. "We ask that you please be respectful and understanding of our choices during this difficult time, as this has been indescribably heartbreaking for our family."