Little Buffalo State Park was the home of a village of nearly 40 gnome houses located near the town of Newport in Perry County, Pennsylvania in the Mid State Region, northwest of Harrisburg, along the Juniata River (Fisherman’s Trail).
The teeny-weeny wilderness abodes were built and maintained by nearby residents Steve Hoke (65) and his wife, who tucked the dwellings on stumps, tree roots and hollow logs up and down the two and a half mile trails by the lake near Newport, about 25 miles from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The idea for the gnome neighborhood in the woods was inspired by the film The Gnomist about a gnome forest built in a Kansas park. Hoke, a retired prison counselor wanted “to get kids out of the house, away from the electronics, and go for a walk.”
The gnome homes became an instant hit with the locals, who sometimes added furniture and coins inside the little gnome domiciles. But then Jason Baker, the park administrator, who had first given permission for the gnome homes to be placed in the park in December 2015, suddenly ordered the gnomes to be evicted from the park in February 2016.
Baker feared the increased traffic from people visiting the gnome homes could affect wildlife and the natural environment, including such developments as increased litter and disturbance of rocks and trees. And so, the gnomes were given their walking papers.
Luckily, two neighboring community parks decided to adopt the gnome homes. Now the locals who visit Millerstown Community Area Park and Noye Park in Duncannon can experience the wonder of these tiny woodland homes. Meanwhile, Steve Hoke, the creator of the gnome homes continues to dream up new attractions for the woodland trails.
Gnome Homes (Now Defunct)
Little Buffalo State Park