My family hadn't ever heard of Hamtramck Disneyland, even though my mom grew up in Hamtramck and they still go down there to pick up Polish kielbasa and bread. Some of my friends had heard about it, but no one told me. I found out about Hamtramck Disneyland on the internet. I wasn’t looking for it and, oddly enough, I think I found it on a knitting site. I’m not a knitter and have no idea how my travels through the interwebs led me to that site but I was happy to find this little nugget of Folk Art.
Dmytro Szylak, who is from the Ukraine, built Hamtramck Disneyland from 1997-1999. It’s located in an alley north of Caniff off Klinger Street, it's in the alley on the west side of Klinger just before Carpenter. It makes you wonder who would do this, spend all this time building this, and why? The answer seems to be, because it made him happy. And, honestly, you can’t help but smile when you look at it.
“It looks like a carnival for gnomes.” Lenaya Lynch, former tenant.
We were there in the daylight and the lights and the contraptions weren’t “on.” Apparently, it lights up and the propellers and other objects move. It’s very kitch but definitely worth seeing. I think we’re going to try and capture it at night when it’s on over the summer. That is, if Dmytro still turns it on.
Do you see this as an eyesore or as personal expression?