For years, I’ve heard about Kentucky’s Midgetville. Rumors of its existence have surfaced over and over again, being passed back and forth between bar patrons and inciting “Yahoo Answers” participants to threaten physical violence. On a recent trip to Iceland, a friend asked me about it, “So, I think I saw Midgetville, but I can’t be sure,” she murmured the last part with her elvin Icelandic accent, “I was on tour. There were substances involved.” Even on another continent, people were asking me about it. Midgetville is pretty famous. Midgetville needed exploration.
To start with, I asked everybody I could find about the location, but something about Midgetville makes everybody’s memory hazy. I found some news articles about it, but they weren’t any fun, I needed to see it for myself. Some internet research informed me that the tiny township is out route 44 between Shepherdsville and West Point, Kentucky, about a 45 minute drive from Louisville.
During my pre-trip investigation, I discovered that Midgetville has never been a midget colony, nor has it housed any other marginalized subsection of the population, unless we’re counting Protestant; which in the Bible Belt, as we are, would be a mistake. The town served as a retreat for church members. In a recent interview, the owner of the property mentioned that only one such afflicted individual had ever lived on the property, but that didn’t diminish my scare-house enjoyment of it. I’m not scared of individuals affected by dwarfism, at all, but there’s a special place in my amygdala reserved just for religious zealots. Cults! Terrifying.
So, though the reality of Midgetville didn’t match the inherited lore, it was an actual place, with coordinates and property taxes, and it wasn’t hard to find. The little houses were visible on one side of the road, leading up to the retreat grounds. Dozens of one-story houses, with doors no taller than my diminutive self and windows at chest level, were arranged in neat rows around a church in the center of the property.
Not only did Midgetville exist, but it seemed to exist in a circus side show alternate reality. On our way out to our destination, we passed a pet cemetery with little concrete poodle headstones. Whole families of them, with dates and first and last names. After wandering around the pet cemetery for a while, we moved along to the Shepherdsville Community Center, where blank faced children milled about in the parking lot and a country singer with a cowboy hat performed on a stage at one end of the farm-themed room. Finally, when we decided to retreat back to normalcy, we got turned around in the dark and ended up in front of somebody’s yard, and it was filled with show roosters, strutting outside their individual coops, tethered by a cord around one foot, watching us drive by.