Firefly Forest is part of the Tomahawk Creek Trail located in Overland Park, Kansas, directly behind DeAnna Rose Farmstead.
The trail was the home to a series of miniature residences (so-called “Gnome Homes”) with American flags, mailboxes, miniature little doors, solar lighting, and tables and place settings inside the tiny abodes.
The Gnome Homes and a sign reading “Firefly Forest” first appeared on the Tomahawk Creek Trail in 2013. It is a mystery who began the enchanted attraction, but joggers, cyclists and hikers enjoyed seeing the tiny residences as they wandered through the wooded area. The addresses on the Gnome Homes indicated they resided on Hollow Tree Lane.
“You know, I think it’s bringing smiles and laughter to those who are finding out about it,” said Sean Reilly, spokesperson for Overland Park. “That’s exactly what we need sometimes in our lives is a little bit of happiness, joy and truly just laughter….We don’t know when they arrived or who’s living in these little tree homes, but we welcome them to Overland Park.”
Gnome Homes were also found between Deanna Rose and St. Andrew’s Golf course, and one more across Switzer behind the ball fields.
Mysteriously in the summer of 2014, the Gnome Homes were removed. In their place were silver stars hung with red string with the messages: “What do you believe?”, “Who will you inspire?”, “Create your own magic,” “Believe in Your Self,” and “What will you create?”
Was this all some kind of social experiment to play with the minds of the public? Well, not really. According to a spokesman for the city, the person behind the Gnome Homes, who wanted to remain anonymous, moved out of the area and decided to take the decorated structures with them because the “city” had ordered the creators of the structures to remove them from the park because they violated local ordinances.
In July of 2014, members of Blue Valley Recreation hosted a building party for kids of the area to make more gnome homes to repopulate Tomahawk Creek Trail with their own creations.
A short film entitled “The Gnomist” (2015) produced by CNN films tells the story of the Gnome Homes and their creators.
Tomahawk Creek Trail
Near W. 130th and Metcalf NB
Overland Park, Kansas 66209