The dream of the Great American Railway at Northlandz began over 35 years ago as the Williams’ first home was being built in 1972. As builders would leave for the day Mr. Williams would escape to the basement and begin erecting scenes for his new basement passion. Mountain passes were erected complete with bridges and buildings.
Workers returning the next day, removed the new addition so they could continue their work. Bruce kept building the nightly exhibits. Thus was the beginning to a labor of love that has resulted in the worlds’ largest model railroad.
As developer, creator and artist behind Northlandz, Bruce Williams Zaccagnino has added several new skills to a long list of accomplishments. A concert musician, successful entrepreneur, multi-award winning computer software game developer and publisher (Perfect General, Solitaire’s Journey), Mr. Williams has spent a lifetime working at what he loves.
Northlandz is a 16 acre world class attraction developed by Bruce and his wife Jean. Included in this complex is a doll museum, La Peep Doll House, a 2,000 pipe theater pipe organ (which Bruce plays) and art galleries throughout. The building is reflective of the couples lifelong commitment to art, expression, and creativity.
In 1977, after Mr. Williams inspired a fourth addition to the basement of his Flemington area home he was persuaded by friends to host an annual train show for a local charity. The weekend show was soon attracting
1,500 visitors daily.
Several national television broadcasts as well as international T.V.
coverage by German, Swedish, and Japanese stations contributed to the
growing popularity. Thus was born the idea for a year round attraction. Along
with the art, music and doll displays, outdoors you will find an 1890s replica
narrow gauge steam train.
Mr. Williams was bestowed with the highest honor that is given by the
Hindu faith, the "Maan Patra". This honorarium was presented to Mr.
Williams in recognition of his years of dedication to the creation of
Northlandz. It was awarded to Mr. Williams by Swami Jagadishswarandandji
at the Geeta Temple of Queens, NY in June, 1996 with thousands of worshipers
of the Hindu faith in attendance.
"This is what we do" says Mr. Williams, who along with his wife’s steadfast
support worked 365 days a year in pursuit of this accomplishment .
"If you can create your own enthusiasm, you can do anything", he said, "if you
maintain that enthusiasm you can do it well".
If Ralph Waldo Emerson is correct in that "Nothing great can be achieved
without enthusiasm", than something spectacular has happened in Flemington.