Woodville native Matt Hammer has a fun hobby. He builds things out of LEGOs.
Yes, that popular building toy that most people think of as a kids toy but has at least as large of an adult following all around the world.
In the LEGO community Hammer would be known as an Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL). His current project is re-creating the downtown blocks of Woodville out of those little plastic bricks.
|At the Woodville Library, Matt Hammer and daughters Emma
and Madison with his replica of the town of Woodville made
entirely of LEGOs. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)
Hammer was looking at the old Movie Theater when he thought he could build a replica out of LEGOs. He started just after Christmas last year and worked through the cold months since he says he has a large garden that takes up his summertime.
After he finished the theater he went on to build the library and worked his way down the street. Currently, he has the Library, the Museum, Judy's Pet Grooming, Jo-Jo's Nite Club, Wittkamp Insurance, Cheryl's Chop Shop and the Theater finished.
When asked what he still has left to do, Hammer replied, “On that end of town, I have one more building to build, Zimmerman's Flower Shop. Then, I'll start with Mortise and Tenon furniture store and work my way west to the Barber Shop. I will then cross the street and build back to the east.”
To date the hardest building to re-create was Cheryl’s Chop Shop because of all the architectural detail in the building. Mr. Hammer also said that there were certain aspects of the Theater that were hard because of the scarcity of certain pieces he needed to be able to do it. He said that he had to track down pieces that were made in the 1970’s and 1980’s and wound up buying some from someone in Germany.
Hammer gets most of his pieces from the LEGO Pick-a-Brick online buying program, eBay, from sets he has found at garage sales and that he has bought new. He believes that he may have a little bit of trouble with Zimmerman’s Flower Shop because of the archway that is on the front of the building.
So far, Hammer says that his easiest building to do was Jo-Jo’s Nite Club because there is not a lot of detail to that building, though he did say there are a lot of characters inside.
He also doesn’t see any big issues with any of the other buildings he has left to do. The building Hammer is most looking forward to re-creating is the Barber Shop because his father, Paul Hammer, was a barber there for almost 50 years. Other than finishing the downtown buildings, Hammer says that he does not have any current plans to build anything else, also not counting what he builds with his 7-year- old twin daughters.
When Hammer took his summer break to work outside, he took pictures of his completed buildings and posted them on his Facebook page and tagged Librarian Rene Dix in the pictures of the LEGO library. She then asked him if he would like to display it at the library.
Hammer then informed her that he had completed many of the downtown buildings and Dix offered to display all of them.
Dix said the display has been up since late September and that she has heard comments such as “awesome,” “cool” and “where does he find all the pieces that he needs?”
She said that her personal favorite of the questions asked is, “How old is the kid that did this?”
Though Hammer is unsure how long it will take him to finish this project, he says he plans on leaving his buildings on display as long as the library will allow.
Dix said that it has been fun to have the buildings there because the LEGO club meets there on the first Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. and the kids really enjoy getting to look at the buildings.
The Woodville Library is located at 101 E. Main St. Hours are Monday and Wednesday noon – 8 p.m., Tuesday 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Thursday noon – 5:30 p.m., Friday noon – 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m..