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Jenison man creates train wonderland in backyard

Posted at 5:32 AM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 07:06:16-04

JENISON, Mich. — At a charming home in Jenison, Michigan all four Vander Wall children, Jackson, Nora, Lincoln, and Joanna play a game of I Spy.

What they spy is something whimsical.

They spy something exotic.... almost magical.

Jackson, Nora, Lincoln, and Joanna are playing I Spy in their Uncle Fred Vander Wall's train wonderland garden.

Fred sits back and tells us, "Well, we're looking at a project that started out probably 15 to 16 years ago."

"We we were really shocked! It was it was really cool to hear the story of how he made it," says the oldest of the Vander Wall children, Jackson.

So what's the story?

Fred clears his throat to begin; "I had won a train, outdoor train in a sales contest and ran it around the Christmas tree for a few years."

"Then I was out in the backyard here and decided I should do something more with it. And so I killed half the backyard and just start building," exclaims Fred.

Fred built Paris, the Netherland, and New York inside the garden.

"I really like that he put in all different types of cities. So that was cool," adds Jackson.

Fred put in a fox figurine, a pug, and a bird.

Norah tells us, "My favorite part of the train track is all the cool animals."

Fred created a garden where imaginations run wild.

Hi favorite part is the highest point, where an angel statue sits.

Fred says it's from his parents house and, "it lights up at night into a beautiful pink!"

All these marvelous colors and houses change every year.

"In the summertime I'll sit out here almost every night on the deck," says Fred.
"I'll turn the fire table on, and just sort of overlook the garden and watch the lights come on at night."

This train wonderland garden is a Jenison community staple, and we have Fred Vander Wall to thank for it.

"I knew in my head what I wanted to do and it just sort of happened," says Fred.