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Model Buildings Preserve Local Town’s History
The small town of Cylinder, Iowa, has been relocated to its neighboring town, Emmetsburg, Iowa. Well, at least a miniature version of Cylinder is there. Twenty buildings in 1/2-in. to 1-ft. scale are on display at Palo Alto Gaming Development/Wild Rose Casino’s office in Emmetsburg.
They were built by Joe Joyce, a retired grocery store owner who still helps out farming at 82. His woodworking skills caught the attention of Cylinder’s former mayor, Arnie Heng, who asked Joyce if he’d be willing to make a model of the town’s deteriorating depot before it was torn down. After completing it in 2018, Joyce was given a centennial book that had photos of the many businesses in Cylinder when it was a booming rural town.
“Now I have 26 old buildings from Cylinder,” Joyce says, including businesses many of the current 80 residents didn’t even know about.
“At one time, there was a butter and cheese factory. I got a photo of it, and it was challenging because there were so many angles, and I had to use my imagination for some of it,” Joyce says.
He captured the spirit of the town by building a livery stable, grain elevator, car and tractor dealerships, an old-time gas station complete with pumps and a car, and other typical town businesses. Most are made from walnut trees cut from Joyce’s property that were sawn into 1-in. by 10 or 12-in. boards.
He slices them into thinner pieces of wood, 1/8-in. for siding and 1/16-in. for shingles, for example. Joyce purchases other types of woods to create contrasting colors, and clear seals them to preserve the beauty of the natural wood. He uses glue and a pneumatic pin gun to secure the pieces in place. A local glass shop cuts 1/8-in. thick mirrors to create the windows.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Joe Joyce, 1301 25th St., Emmetsburg, Iowa 50536 (ph 712-298-0797; joyce02@mediacombb.net; YouTube: Siouxland Stories: Town of Cylinder Not Forgotten Thanks to Siouxland Man’s Woodwork).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #6