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How To Design A Small Town ?
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 Posted: Sun Nov 11th, 2018 04:21 pm
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man7sell
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I'm at a crucial point in my layout where I want to build a small town. 

How have you guys gone about creating your town space?

Capt. Paul





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 Posted: Sun Nov 11th, 2018 04:34 pm
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elminero67
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I've always tried to let my RR towns create a feeling of place and tell a story. 

Hasn't always worked, but I try...







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 Posted: Sun Nov 11th, 2018 04:42 pm
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W C Greene
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Well, what kind of small town do you want? 
Around here (N TX), we have small towns with maybe one or two older brick/masonry buildings and some foundations of others. 
Also, small towns with one main street with small buildings, again they are old and maybe "fixed up" a bit. 
And then, we have a couple of "wannabes" with brand new buildings and funky "ritzy" looks. 
The older ones with few structures are my favorites. 
Remember that "less is more" even when it comes to small towns.
And after all, this is your layout and what you want is what's best.
Good luck and send some photos.

Woodie




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 Posted: Sun Nov 11th, 2018 05:11 pm
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man7sell
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Less is more is good advice Woodie. 

NW logging town is what I have in mind.







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 Posted: Sun Nov 11th, 2018 06:33 pm
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Michael M
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I think that towns are created about the same way railroads are.  
Sometimes the town is there first, and other times the railroad was there first.

Why is the town there in the first place (kind of like why is your model railroad there)? 
Does it service coal mines, ranches and agriculture, lumber, or mining?  
Maybe it's just a railroad town.

I model the southwest along the California/Nevada border.  
The mines are there first, and then a small town to service the mines and miners,
and then the railroad comes along to service the mines and residents.

During the California Gold Rush many made their fortunes not from mining, but from mining the miners.  
Saloons and gambling places, cooks and restaurants, laundries, general stores, butchers, and, yes, prostitutes.
 
Such people as Leland Stanford and C.P. Huntington,
part of the Big Four that built the Central Pacific,
made their monies as merchants in Sacramento.




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 Posted: Sun Nov 11th, 2018 06:41 pm
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man7sell
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Good put Michael, 

my town's there to service the lumber industry so a small mill is in order.

Paul





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 Posted: Fri Jan 10th, 2020 05:10 pm
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David Laughery
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I design and build my towns off the layout on a piece of material (plastic, here), and add to the layout as a unit. 

Small details, painting, etc. are easy to do at the workbench. 

Later, the town can be saved or moved as a unit should the layout be dismantled. 

Regards, Dave L.





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 Posted: Sat Jan 11th, 2020 01:52 am
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Michael M
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You don't necessarily have to build a whole town,
but simply enough to suggest that there is a town.

On my NI&E the main yard is at San Miguel,
with Main Street crossing the yard lead at a 90 degree angle. 

There are two saloons, a sheriff's office, a team track with a loading dock,
and a small freight office, that represent the town of San Miguel.




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 Posted: Mon Jan 27th, 2020 08:04 pm
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ebtnut
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One question to be asked: "When" is your town?

Towns associated with single purpose industries, like sawmills,
rise and fall with the success of the industry.
 
If you're modeling the time when the mill is running well,
the town will look decent, fresh paint, most buildings occupied,
and businesses running.

Note that back in the day, a lot of these towns were "company" towns,
everything was owned by the company,
and everything had to be bought at the company store.

This practice was eventually outlawed, but maybe not until the WWII era?

W C Greene notes the north Texas area,
which kind of denotes what happens when the industry shuts down or moves away.

Eventually, the heart of the town goes away too.
Buildings go empty, then get torn down or burned down.
Streets and sidewalks get cracked and potholed; signs fade; the paint starts to peel.
Probably not what most of us really want to model, but it is a reality.

DM


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 Posted: Mon Jan 27th, 2020 09:27 pm
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Michael M
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DM,

To build off of your observations,
many mining towns went though a boom and bust cycle.

There would be an initial strike, and a town would build up. 

The vein may play out and the town disappears,
or a new vein is located and the town comes back to life. 

A town, or mining district, might go through several cycles.

There are many examples throughout the West,
where towns sprang to life only to quickly wither away. 

Some towns hung on to see a resurgence in mining activity.

Today towns like Virginia City and Bodie allow us a glimpse into the past.




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