Exhibit impresses Lego show visitors in Wheaton
Walk into the DuPage County Historical Museum this weekend, and you’re bound to see one wide-eyed spectator after the next, arms stretched out to point at one of countless elements that make up the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club’s show.
There’s the flashing light radiating from a skyscraper window, where a little Lego man is making Xerox copies of his backside. Up above is Superman, flying around one of the Willis Tower antennas. Down below is a Dunkin’ Donuts truck, surrounded by police officers who crashed their squad cars in search of a snack.
And those are within just a city block of an exhibit that fills the museum’s second floor.
“The more you look, the more you see,” club President Jamie LeBlanc said. “The fun is in the details.”
The club, which started in 2001 as a meeting of a few Lego enthusiasts from Illinois and Wisconsin, puts on six or seven of these exhibits each year with the help of 20 active members. The biggest and most popular is the Christmas Lego Train Show at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, which drew 11,000 visitors this winter.
LeBlanc, who’s also the mayor of Virgil in western Kane County, said each member creates a scene within a genre he or she loves, such as Medieval times, music, Star Wars and cityscapes. Trains are used to connect the different worlds together into a cohesive display.
Roger Snow, a club member from Bartlett and the architect behind the massive cityscape, enjoys making Lego replicas of historical buildings including the original Geneva train station and the Kane County Courthouse. He gets blueprints, takes photos and even looks at satellite images to be precise.
“The real stuff takes the most time,” Snow said. “The train station would probably take me a year to build from scratch.”
The display impressed adults and kids alike, including Rob Schoonveld and his 8-year-old son, Cade, who was drawn to the 9½-foot-tall replica of the Willis Tower and the superheroes around it.
“This is pretty awesome,” Cade said.
The show continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum, 102 E. Wesley St., Wheaton. Admission is free. Reserve tickets online at dupagemuseum.org.