Paige Stegina | A&E Editor
The ruins of an old stone house, the mini houses and structures surrounding it and the life-size throne. A place long forgotten that lies deep in the woods that leaves any brave visitor with a lingering sense of not only wonder and awe, but an unsettling feeling that they are not welcome in this place. The dark tales that surround the origin of such a place muddle the lines between tall tales and reality. There is no official address to the location, and the hike through the backwoods may deter most adventurers from venturing to see the location. However, if one is to make the trek, they are met with the “Little People Village” in the woods of Waterbury, Connecticut. The myths surrounding the place tell of a supernatural force, perhaps elves or even fairies, that manipulated the minds of mortals into building them an entire village. However, as it stands, it represents the echo of times long passed.
The “Little People Village” comprises the ruins of multiple structures, both life and fairy sized. One of the largest structures is the remains of an old stone house. Beyond this, there are multiple structures of tiny “fairy” houses, each one unique, all in various stages of decay and ruin. However, these structures still stand as tiny pieces of artwork, with each one with its own personality and character. One is bright red, with tiny circular windows. Another has steps leading up to it, along with a tiny balcony. Others are built onto the side of the cliffs, overlooking the rest of the New England woods. One of the main attractions of the place is the giant chair, or otherwise known as the throne. Legend has it that if a person sits on the throne, they will die in the next seven years. This is only the first of the many stories that have been created to explain this village in the woods.
In one rendition of the tale, it is said that a wife saw fairies in the woods around her house, and had her husband build the village for them. She ends up killing her husband when he sits on the throne, as she believes that she is the Queen of Fairies. In another, a couple living in the stone house believed that they were surrounded by fairies. The only way that the fairies would leave them alone is if they built them a village for them to live in. The couple dies in the end, driven mad by the voices of the fairies. One of the more popular stories is the man living alone in the stone house, the fairies whispering to him and invading his thoughts. He builds the house to silence their voices. When the creation of the village does not silence the voices, his story ends just as grimly as the rest of the tales.
The more likely version is that of William Joseph Lannen. In 1924, he bought the land and built a gas station. As the gas station was by major roads, it was highly successful, until new roads redirected the traffic away. After this, he planned to make the area into a nursery, not only buying plants but constructing tiny houses. However, after moving, this nursery never became a reality, the remains of the place were left to ruin and the imagination of hikers. There are also rumors that it may have potentially been a part of the Quassy Amusement Park as a trolley attraction.
Time has not been kind to the fairy village, with vandals and weather beating down the small structures, leaving the visitor only with thoughts of what it once was or could have been. No matter the stories that explain away or attempt to bring logic, the place still haunts visitors, an unsettling display of art brought to life with the imagination. If anything, this place demonstrates the power of imagination and urban legend, even if there is a limited amount of content to go off of. With a few structures of concrete, brick, and metal deep off the beaten trail in the woods, multiple stories have been created as well as multiple historical explanations provided to explain this haunting place. It represents the power of a single, abandoned dream taking on a life of its own and creating one of the many urban legends that haunt the New England woods.