People have been collecting lawn and garden gnomes for centuries…some more than others. Although gnomes have always been most popular in England and Germany, some of the world’s largest gnomes are hanging around where you’d least expect them….Northern California.
As featured in the magazine, Interesting America, Gnome Habitat USA showcases more than 2,000 gnome figurines and collectible items in the foothills of Auburn, California. Master collector, Liz Spera converted a barn on her property into a private museum to celebrate her long love affair with the miniature creatures.
Spera began collecting gnomes in 1979 after reading the popular coffee table book, Gnomes, by Wil Huygen. She opened the museum in 2008 as a place where gnomes can “live, work, and play.” Hand-crafted gnomes made of terra cotta, clay, cement, wood, porcelain, and plastic line the shelves and walls of the museum, as well as within her unique and beautiful yard and home.
Spera does not charge any admission to enter her museum, but donations are accepted to help her with upkeep and improvements to the museum. To schedule a viewing and tour, contact Spera at 530-899-9922 or [email protected].
In case you still still haven’t seen enough gnomes, head on over to Gnomeman’s Land in Santa Rosa, California. Long-time collector and enthusiast, Jean Fenstermaker, turned her backyard into an overwhelming number of gnome figurines surrounding a meticulously-landscaped yard and miniature displays.
In an interview with SF weekly, Fenstermaker commented about her love of gnomes, “They bring nothing but good luck to my garden, and it always makes me smile to look at their happy faces.” Jean’s collections features hundreds of gnomes of varying types, which have been featured featured in US and foreign garden journals and filmed for Home and Garden TV network.
Spera is the editor of the International Gnome Club Newsletter and Fenstermaker regularly writes articles for the tri-yearly publication. Annual membership dues are $15 and members are encouraged to write articles about their own gnome collections and sightings.
Photo credit: Sridhar Balasubramanian (Pictured: Liz Spera, Jean Fenstermaker, and Alyssa Ochs)
*Author’s note: A version of this article is scheduled to be published on a popular international car rental website in the near future. See! We gnomes are legit! Sort of.