Message From The Founder

A MESSAGE FROM THE FOUNDER

The idea for Dickens Victorian Village was inspired by my wife, Sue, during a discussion about what we could do to bring visitors to our downtown. She noted our Victorian architecture, street lamps, benches and our English heritage.

As we talked, the idea of scenes from life in Dickens era (London, circa 1850) sounded more and more like an interesting project.

I designed a mannequin that could be "posed" and after leafing through my wife's extensive collection of Dickens books, I drew pictures of potential scenes.

Of course, the idea would take money and mannequins. I presented the idea to the Cambridge Main Street group, and they adopted it with an enthusiasm I have never seen in a business meeting!

Volunteers came from everywhere. The project took on a life of its own! The Mayor of Cambridge, Sam Salupo, who was present at the meeting, offered us a space at the Armory in which to start building mannequins, and a grant for $2,000 from UDAG (Urban Development Action Grant) funds for seed money!

Committees were formed and as the idea spread, money started coming in.

Martha Jamail and the Eastern Ohio Art Guild took on the making of the heads and faces for our models. The expressions are priceless!

Bob Bruner and his classes at Mid-East Career and Technology Center Buffalo Campus assembled the mannequins, over 100 of them... as a donation!

A huge cadre, too numerous to name, show up on Tuesday nights to help "dress" the characters. Sheila Taylor has been creative as costume chair. Melissa Essex helps ensure our authenticity. Pam McCauley is treasurer and has secured several grants.

Jonett Haberfield and Debbie Robinson have taken tourism and marketing of this project to a professional level.

We feel the project will be an attraction for all ages. It will provide an interesting and educational look into another era, and it will be easy to visit.

Cambridge is blessed with an abundance of parking. The scenes will be lighted and raised off the sidewalks so they can be viewed easily from the comfort of your car, or even better, "up close and personal" as a pedestrian tour.

2006 will be our first year. Future plans include the lighting of many of our second story windows to show scenes of home life from 1850s London... families decorating the tree, opening gifts, Christmas dinner, visits from Father Christmas -- and maybe a few ghosts from Christmas Past!

-- Bob Ley