Waldowood’s beginnings trace to Plasticville FM, a railroad town established in the early 1960’s that, in turn, had been the successor to Lionel FM, a once mighty town that consumed most of a bedroom but that was junked in the name of 1960's (HO) progress. Plasticville FM was known for its strange “painted people”, Christmas town square, and the Styrofoam Mountains, through which a Santa Fe freight train traveled. By the late 1970’s, the Styrofoam Mountains had vanished and Plasticville FM had been abandoned. What remained of the town, including its beloved Santa Fe Railway train, was mothballed.
By 1989, became clear that Waldo would need a home base to support his ever widening set of activities. So, during the holiday season of 1989, Plasticville FM was taken out of mothballs, moved to Mr. Daddy Sir’s and Mrs. Mommy Ma’am’s bedroom, and rechristened Waldowood. Waldowood had all the features of the Plasticville FM and some new ones: an animatronic holiday display (courtesy of Mitchell Simmons), a complex, two-line Santa Fe Railway system, and a major highway system that led up to and through Mt. Waldo.
For the next few years, Waldowood made a yearly appearance, adding more train tracks and more train cars. Eventually, in the mid 1990’s, Waldowood outgrew Mrs. Mommy Ma’am and Mr. Daddy Sir’s bedroom and was relocated to the room with the annual giant Christmas tree. Things were looking up for Waldowood when a new threat emerged, Godzilla Mark. Godzilla Mark loved to play with Waldowood trains, manually powering them down the tracks, destroying the tracks and nearby Waldowood buildings as he “drove” the trains. Facing such a natural disaster, Waldo developed a solution: he would devote some train cars for Godzilla Mark’s amusement and possible destruction, while preserving the rest of Waldowood as a peaceful place where friendly dinosaurs and people could coexist.
By 1997, Waldowood had reached its classic two-part town size and three independent train lines. Upper Waldowood housed the relatively new Swiss ski village, while Lower Waldowood contained the town’s main commercial district. One train line encircled Upper Waldowood, while the other two, interlocking and interconnecting lines served Lower Waldowood. That year also saw the only visit of Shamu to Waldowood, an event memorialized in a widely distributed holiday photograph.
1997 was the last of the living room Waldowood. Soon a great change would take place as Waldowood was relocated 925 feet north, and 10 feet higher, into its own room, which Mr. Daddy Sir sometimes claimed was his office. Ironically, Waldo had led his town to the site of original Lionel FM town, completing a story over 40 years in the making.
Waldowood 1999 was the first “complex,” or multilevel Waldowood. Existing in the same space as the former Lionel FM and Plasticville FM train villages, this Waldwood included figure-eight layours on two different levels and a third circumnavigational train.
In this current century, Waldowood has evolved and hosted many innovations. Waldowood 2000 was the first Waldowood with a live webcam, while the unique one-level Waldowood 2003 introduced a complete Alpine village and separate commercial and residential areas.
After skipping several holiday seasons, Waldowood reappeared bigger and better than ever. Waldowood 2006 featured three intertwined rail lines, including a figure-eight and an elevated loop, and one line that looped around the entire town. This Waldowood was the first to feature three zones: the Alpine Village area, a mixed residential and light commercial area, and a new transportation and technology zone. Waldowood 2007 featured five independent train lines, four of which were closed loop circuits. The first Waldowood to contain a computerized display, this Waldowood debuted an expanded commercial plaza and had a hint of a scandal ( see Waldowood 2007 page. containedhas evolved more complex train layouts while experiencing the ups and downs of real estate development. By the year 2007, Waldowood had even sprouted its first suburban area, and, for the first time, supported four, overlapping and interlocking independent train lines. What the future holds for Waldowood no one knows, but a new building devoted to dancing is rumored to be coming to town soon!
Waldowood 2009 was the first modern-era train village. Existing on several levels, the Waldowood featured a subway line as well as three rail lines on separate levels that crossed over each other at the same point. This was the Waldowood that revived Waldo Johnson’s, one a chain of notable eateries.
Waldowoods appeared annually in the years 2009 through 2012, each year getting lager and more complex. In these years, the subway line migrated to the lowest Waldowood level and Waldowood had grown to include N-scale rail lines. Waldowood 2012 set a record for having 10 train lines that run simultaneously in the space that over 60 years ago, a single Lionel O-scale train had run.
Delayed effects of a recession and an overloaded work schedule might that there was no Waldowood for the years 2013 through 2016.
Waldowood 2017 was revived under the leadership of new Mayor Dinosaur DJ, who run on a platform of making Waldowood great again. This Waldowood returned the village to the giant Christmas tree, after being apart from the tree for nearly 20 years. DJ planned many improvements, including Waldowood’s first monorail and a wall to keep our undesirables from the village, but management failures led to a depopulated town that contained only two N-scale trains.
In recent years, Waldowood has been threatened by development. Tall towers (known locally as “the storage shelves”) and a large tubular assembly (“the clothes rack”) occupy part of the land where Waldowood would normally appear. Until these obstacles are moved or cleared, Waldowood will stay hidden.
Waldowood owns a number of notable HO- and N-scale rail cars that include: