Local Collector Creates Miniature City

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HARLINGEN – It is not a village, it’s a complete miniature city that occupies an entire two-car garage and the builder has been working on it since he was 14 years old.

When you see it you feel like you’re looking down at the city. There’s a post office, bus station, a wedding about to take place, several churches and a cemetery.

“A lot of work, that was a lot of work,” says Joe Hernandez, the owner of the tiny city.

His inspiration came from the 1980s. The opening theme to HBO’s movies.

He was 14 at the time and still in school. He started mowing yards so that every two to three weeks he could go to the mall and buy models of buildings. Consequently, many of his buildings are now hard to find.

There’s an old logo of the H-E-B, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr., a Coca-Cola distribution center, an Exxon service station, a KFC restaurant, Taco Bell and a 7-11. He had to build some himself because he could not find a model for sale.

“An old haunted house,” he pointed out.

Some buildings, he said, he found at hobby shops but the flea market was also a good place. There’s also some side turns to his collection. He has international airplane models hanging from the ceiling and there’s his collection of 18-wheeler trucks.

A hospital with a helicopter ready, and of course, a television station.

Hernandez said he’s still collecting and adding to his collection. In fact, he still has plenty of other items in boxes because he has no place for them. He’s looking at maybe adding another room to complete Joe’s Ville.