Hobby grows into Little Town
There's a place called Little Town, population 6, nestled behind the Leachville Head Start building just off Highway 77. Little Town started as a hobby for Albert Hancock in 1999 and continued to grow as more old-time buildings were added.
It all started with Hancock building a utility shed to work on his antique cars and trucks. He put a cypress front on his shed and the town just started growing from there.
"I had the property, I had the time and I also had some help and the project started growing," Hancock said.
Hancock said Joe Wheeler, Henry Hetler, and Bondale Austin all helped with the building.
Hancock has always liked anything western and the little town has an unmistakable western look - from the hitching post to the stairs with a sign leading up to a doctor's office. The city hall and jail, old-time store fronts, and saloon all blend together for a step back in time.
The entire area is decorated with old gas pumps, old soda machines, old candy machines, advertising signs, and other collectibles. Some of the items were given to Hancock and he purchased others, but everything serves as a reminder of days gone by.
A red flying horse sign advertising gasoline was given to him by Joe Wheeler, a hand-painted Coca-Cola sign from a friend, an old soda machine from a beauty shop in Leachville, a Route US 66 sign was found in Arizona, an old kerosene pump came from Knight's, an old candy machine from Dr. Rodman's hospital, an old-fashioned gas pump, and lots of other items.
"Most people would call this stuff junk but I get excited when I find items from the past," Hancock said.
A couple of the buildings he purchased and moved to the site, and others were built from the ground up.
One of his frequent visitors is Joe Wheeler from Leachville.
"Mr. Wheeler loves to come and visit Little Town," Hancock said.
Hancock named one of the buildings, Joe's Place, after Mr. Wheeler.
In his shop he has a huge collection of license plates from everywhere. He has a 1951 Ford pick-up truck and a 1951 Ford tractor.
His four grandchildren, Tiffany, Hayley, Rachel and Landon, have enjoyed the town through the years. Tiffany had some of her senior pictures made using Tiny Town in the background scenery.
Several of the school pictures were taken at Tiny Town last year.
"We have had a lot of visitors come through and stop to see the town," Hancock said. "It has made for some good conversation."
He and his wife, Mary, live across the street from Tiny Town.
He said he has some new ideas and plans to continue working on the town as a hobby.