Town popping up on property along CR300W near Huntington

Jerry Martin (left) and Stan Bippus show off the miniature western town they and a few of their friends made, which is displayed along Bippus’ property on CR 300W. The church is a replica of the Clear Creek Church, located at 750 N. Clear Creek Rd.
Jerry Martin (left) and Stan Bippus show off the miniature western town they and a few of their friends made, which is displayed along Bippus’ property on CR 300W. The church is a replica of the Clear Creek Church, located at 750 N. Clear Creek Rd. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published Oct. 17, 2016.

Out on Stan Bippus’ property along CR 300W, a small town is taking shape.

Located just north of the Crown Hill subdivision, the town, which as of yet has no name, has popped up along the front of the road, on both sides of the driveway that leads back to Bippus’ pole barn, a.k.a. The Man Cave.

Along the gravel drive, single family housing in the form of birdhouses line the way back to his pond, workshop and poultry coops.

And “small” is literal. The miniature, western-style town is the “piddling” project of Bippus, his buddy Jerry Martin and a few other friends who like to hang out around the Man Cave.

The group of three or four buddies, mostly retired, spend their days puttering around the workshop, which features some serious woodworking tools. They can often be found making things for friends and relatives when they aren’t volunteering for Habitat for Humanity or another organization.

Bippus says there are strict rules in the club, which he has threatened to turn into an organization called the International Professional Piddlers’ Association.

“That (the miniature town) is just an example of what people do when they’re piddling around. We have no purpose other than piddling,” he says. “We play darts usually every afternoon. All work stops at 3:30. … We have some very political discussions — any topic is fair game.”

“And the ‘bar’ light comes on,” chips in Martin, a member of the crew who likes to piddle around in Bippus’ Man Cave. “We have a good sound system and a good library.”

The camaraderie of the members who hang out in the “cave” is always lively, and one-liners followed by laughs abound. There is always something to do.

The inside is outfitted with carpeting, chairs — mostly acquired from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore — a refrigerator, CD player, strings of lights and various decorations apart from the more serious woodworking equipment.

And while females are not usually found in or even near the “cave,” the door is always open — even to a chicken or two which may wander in from Bippus’ coop, providing an expanded definition of free range poultry.

“You should have been here when we had the turkey,” Bippus says. “The turkey would come in and he’d jump up on the saw; he’d hop up on the workbench.”

The property also features what Bippus proudly calls “the finest working outhouse in the Midwest.”

Martin, who spent more than 20 years in the construction industry, worked in manufacturing and spent 25 years building homes for Habitat for Humanity, says the idea of creating a miniature town was a whim.

“We started out with birdhouses. We did a lot of birdhouses,” he explains. “Then we just decided to do something a little different. We made a few of them (the miniature buildings) and we decided to kind of group them, and Stan wanted to put them out by the road, so that’s what we did. … It’s just a pastime for old men.”

The “town” features several typical Old West buildings, including a barn and corral, hotel, saloon, general store, bank, livery stable, a jail and even an undertaker.

It also has a scale model replica of the Clear Creek Church, located just up the road at CR 750N and Clear Creek Road.

“We took a couple of photographs of it, and then I went back and based on the photographs, built one,” Martin says.

The buildings are named for the friends who have been part of the gang and helped put the town together, and bear such monikers as Martin’s General Store, Wink’s Saloon, Bippus Farm, Sheriff Ray Williams’ office and Bob’s Livery. Jenny’s Dry Goods and Louise’s Fabrics are named for a couple of the guys’ wives.

The town has been displayed all summer; however, it will be taken down soon, before winter hits. The buildings will need to be repaired and spruced up for next summer’s display. Bippus promises to get piddling, and put something new and “interesting” in its place, perhaps in time for Halloween.

“I might put up a coffin; we’ll need to find a dummy to put in it, and make it sitting up,” Bippus says.

He looks at Martin.