The Town That Lives Online Only

Elgin Park is a small city that doesn't exist. But online, through a series of photographs created from tiny models in the house of one Massachusetts man, the time-frozen industrial town of the mid-'60s has come to life.
March 15, 2010, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The memories, and the images on the Flickr photo-sharing site, belong to Michael Paul Smith. They've made his town' a tourist destination, attracting about 20 million views, all arriving through cyberspace, since January.

You won't find Mr. Smith in Elgin Park - in a corporal sense, he resides in Winchester, Mass., just north of Boston - nor is the town on any map. It is not based on Elgin, Ill., or any other Elgin. Rather, Elgin Park is an imaginary melting pot of a steel mill town where the calendar is frozen at 1964.

Mr. Smith posted his first Elgin Park images about two years ago; for some time, they were attracting only about 200 views a day. For reasons that aren't entirely clear - someone in the Flickr community clicked on the slide show feature and then sent the link to others - the images began to spread virally in January. At times, daily page views approached 750,000, Mr. Smith said."

Using a series of die-cast model cars from the mid-20th Century and a skill with modelmaking, Smith has created a town.

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Published on Thursday, March 11, 2010 in The New York Times
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