Living on a grand scale

Larry Kennedy will greet visitors from around the U.S. in 2015

A Washougal man estimates he has invested approximately 6,000 hours in creating a scale model railroad town in his home.

Larry Kennedy said he has about 5,000 hours of work left, before the project is completed.

“It is a work in progress,” he said.

The results so far are expansive, yet detailed.

“I try to make everything look as real as it can,” Kennedy said, during a recent walk through the train room. “There are people who are better.

“I’m very patient,” he added.

Kennedy, 71, used a photo of a former locomotive maintenance shop in Wenatchee, to create one of his town’s components. The actual shop was torn down in the early 1950s.

At the age of 7, Kennedy and his brother received a model train from Santa Claus. From the ages of 11 through 15, Kennedy rode a train in the summers, to see his grandfather’s farm in Minneapolis.

Kennedy has been a passenger on all of the steam trains in the Western U.S.

The former resident of Seattle retired after working as a general contractor in high end remodeling, specializing in kitchens and bathrooms.

He said it can take 100 to 200 hours to create a scale model building.

“Some are much more difficult than others,” Kennedy said.

Some buildings are made with Hydrocal white gypsum cement, while others include plastic.

Kennedy’s scale model town includes a furniture factory, chemical plant and dry goods and hardware store, as well as a movie theater and jewelry store.

There is also a meat packing plant, flour milling company, apartments, a dime store, a courthouse and woolen mill.

“All of the buildings are built from kits,” Kennedy said. “Some are 1,000 pieces.”

Kennedy’s town also includes a farm with a barn, cows and an apple and peach orchard.

He said it took 300 hours to construct the farm, which involved painting 100 plastic trees and adding leaves.

The farm scene also includes a gentleman wheeling manure to a manure pile. Other moments of whimsy involve a dog “watering” a fire hydrant by the gas station.

Kennedy said his wife, LaDonna, is very supportive of his hobby.

“She is understanding,” he said. “She loves to see the outcome.”

They have been married for 36 years.

“It keeps him home at nights,” LaDonna said.

Welton’s General Store, in the scale model town, is named after his mother-in-law.

“A lot of family members’ names are in the businesses,” Kennedy said.

A “seedier” part of town includes an adult bookstore, massage parlor and bikini lounge.

Kennedy likes to include “a touch of humor” to the scenery, such as adding unclothed sunbathers on a hill.

The project has included the installation of 40,000 railroad ties.

“Anybody can do this,” Kennedy said. “You have to have patience. You can’t be in a hurry. You have to have steady hands.”

The Kennedy’s home is expected to be among the stops available for attendees of the National Model Railroad Association convention, to be held in August 2015, in Portland.