An old dairy barn in Green County has a new lease on life. But, you won't find cows under its roof. This barn is on a different track.
From the road, the Guthrie family farm looks like any other Wisconsin farm. But, take a closer look, and signs point you in a different direction.
"People do some funny things," says Buck Guthrie. "It's something I wanted to do since I was a little guy."
Buck is a former railroad engineer, now, working on a smaller scale.
"There's trains from the Civil War all the way up to today," he says.
Buck's collection, seven exhibits and counting, are on display for all to see, inside the barn he milked cows in, as a kid.
"I never thought that smell would go away," jokes Buck.
But, it did, and Buck's labor of love moved forward.
While trains are the center of his creation, it's the man of steel ready to take flight; the firefighters battling flames; and the roller-skating waitress that drive Buck's imagination.
"Sometimes it comes in a dream," he adds.
That's how the seven microwave ovens came into play.
"We're going to pick 99 minutes today and press start," he smirks.
Forget food! These timers warm up the tracks.
"It all started with a way to shut them off, if I forgot," he admits.
Buck has redesigned VCRs and garage door openers.
"I don't throw anything away," he says. "If it moves, I want something to do with it."
All these moving parts, going up and down, side to side, are immediate attention-grabbers.
"It's fun to watch people walk in the door, their eyes get big and they're like, wow," Buck adds.
But, Buck's Toy Train Barn wasn't always in the cards. His family moved off the farm years ago. It was by chance Buck's journey took him back home.
"I was going by one day, seen the house was for sale and it's history from there," Buck says.
Now, a green truck, with a simple sign, promotes the bright orange barn--painted in honor of the famous Milwaukee Road trains.
"Most people don't even know this place is here," Buck says. "Wisconsin's best kept secret."
Just like his toy trains, Buck's wheels keep turning.
"It would be neat to think that one day it would be complete, but then I wouldn't have anything to do," he laughs.
So, even when the microwave says it's quitting time, another go-around is just a button's push away.
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Highway 81 in Argyle