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My mother-in-law swears that several years ago she went on a tour and saw a street in La Jolla (perhaps in the Mt. Soledad area), or even a block, of "Munchkin" houses. They were regular houses, except smaller than usual, built for dwarfs. I've lived in San Diego for over 20 years, and this question comes up from time to time, but I've never seen an answer. If such a place exists, where is it? When was it built? Were the houses built for the "Munchkin" actors in the Wizard of Oz?

-- TLWC in San Diego

Here's another moldy oldie that simply won't go away. The second one I've gotten in two days. It also went into the "Already Answered It, but No One Paid Attention" file that has been fattening since 1988, when we first explained the matter of the Munchkins. So listen up. The houses are on Hillside Drive, on the northwest side of Mt. Soledad. They are four normal-sized houses sited on a very steep hill, so the street-side walls are partly below ground. The windowsills are practically at ground level, as viewed from the street. The designer was Cliff May, an architect noted for accommodating his houses to the land rather than grading the land flat and setting boxes on it. Cliff's dwellings and The Wizard of Oz went on the market at the same time, 1938/9. The rumors began then, mutating over the years into tales of Chinese smugglers, Barnum & Bailey circus performers, mysterious European millionaires, midnight signal-light flashes, and dwarf sightings. Many San Diegans are still convinced the stories are true because they know someone who knows someone whose sister/son/friend actually saw them. Phooey. It's a myth, no matter what the tour guide says.

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