It’s always Christmas in Eagle’s Dickensville |

It’s always Christmas in Eagle’s Dickensville

Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyEagle, Colorado resident Sig Bjornson sits by the miniature village that he has built during Christmas for the last 10 years.

EAGLE, Colorado ” Dickensville is a bustling, albeit diminutive, village in Eagle, Colorado.

Six trains circle around the town where shoppers stroll along a boulevard. Skaters spin on the pond. A paddleboat rests at the dock. A couple smooches on a park bench and a lighthouse shines on the hill. Dickensville has 76 individual buildings and a commercial core that’s more populated than downtown Eagle.

The miniature Christmas village is the creation of Eagle Ranch resident Sig Bjornson. An architect by profession, his skills are vividly on display in Dickensville, a village has been 15 years in the making.

“It all started innocently enough, as a train under the tree with a couple of buildings,” Bjornson says.

From there, friends and family started adding to the collection. He buys some of his trains online on e-Bay. The result is today’s busy burg.

Bjornson says the newer buildings are especially detailed, with windows that show indoor scenes. He is hard pressed to name his favorite but Bjornson’s wife, Marsha, can ” a building with an adjacent greenhouse stocked with tiny poinsettias.

Bjornson’s Christmas creation is the outgrowth of a lifelong interest in model trains. The North Pole and Southern Railroad is the centerpiece of Dickensville. Santa’s train is the longest one in the village and its boxcars are loaded with candy canes and Christmas trees.

While he’s been building Dickensville for 15 years, its present incarnation is only about six years old. That’s when the Bjornsons moved to their new Eagle Ranch home.

“When we built this house we had a corner in the living room where we knew the village would go,” he says.

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect setting. Dickensville spouts out from the couple’s Christmas tree and spreads out over four levels. The village lights are reflected in the picture windows that border two ends of the town.

Setting up the village is a precise proposition. First the platforms get placed; then the Christmas tree is erected and decorated. Finally the buildings and figures are placed. The effort also includes carefully winding a fabric “river” through the village with strategically placed bridges.

But what you see is only one part of the village. “There’s a whole other world going on underneath this, with electric cords everywhere,” says Bjornson. “There’s a whole other world in the bowels of Dickensville.”

Once the village is set up, Bjornson says its important to make sure he can access various corners. “The trains never derail in the front,” he explains, ruefully.

Where will Dickensville go from here? Bjornson says he isn’t really interested in expansion but he’d like to add more residents. “Figures add that element of scale, the realness that people like,” he says.

Also, he’d like to have a ski lift.

The Bjornsons plainly love their little holiday work of art. Every year they host a children’s party so the neighborhood kids can visit Dickensville.

“The parents always say they’ve never see their kids act so good,” says Marsha. This year she especially got a kick out of the junior visitor who addressed Sig as “Mr. Conductor” when she mentioned one of the trains had derailed.

But young or old, the Bjornsons say Dickensville mesmerizes visitors. “It’s like a campfire. You see people just staring off into it.”

And no matter what is happening in the world at large, Bjornson notes Christmas is always merry in Dickensville.

“There’s no recession in Dickensville. The economy is great, people are shopping and the banks are going strong.”

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