Jason Busse, of Applied Imagination, kneels next to a replica of Niles City Hall his company created for Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve. Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Archived Story

City Hall gets new look

Published 5:14pm Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A replica of Niles City Hall is the newest addition to the Railway Garden Exhibit at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Niles.

It is small in scale, incredibly detailed and built with all-natural materials.

It took more than 200 hours to create by an artist at Applied Imagination of Alexandria, Ky.

“I love it,” said Carol Line, Fernwood director.

It’s not an exact replica. The artist applied her own take on city hall, giving it a look that would be at home in a fairy tale novel.

“The work is very whimsical and that is part of the appeal. Thatb and the fact that it is made out of all natural materials makes it very fitting for Fernwood,” Line said.

It is one of several local landmarks featured in the railway garden, including the Niles Train Depot, Buchanan Pears Mill, Notre Dame Golden Dome and St. Joseph Lighthouse. All were made by Applied Imagination, which has created garden railroads in places all over the country, including Chicago and New York.

Workers from Applied Imagination arrived Wednesday to prepare the exhibit for opening day May 1.

The roof of the city hall replica is made of ash bark, and the door of birch and willow sticks. Red-stained willow and winged euonymus twigs were used to create the windows, while the foundation is oak bark.

The front tower roof is one piece of vine-choked tree branch.

Jason Busse, of Applied Imagination, said the roofline was the most difficult part of city hall to recreate.

He is most impressed by the detail of the porch.

In addition to replica landmarks, the Railway Garden at Fernwood, 13988 Range Line Rd. in Niles, features several working trains, walk-over bridges, more than 500 feet of track, a waterfall, mountain range and mountain tunnels.

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  • Justine

    That’s painstakingly detailed work! I can’t wait to see it in person!

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