The vast, little town Laurence Gieringer built by hand in 1953 couldn’t be found on any map.

It was just supposed to represent the America people longed for — 8,000 square feet of miniature picket fences, gas stations, churches, and green baseball diamonds. And that’s why Roadside America, the off-highway tourist attraction Gieringer opened off Interstate 78 in Berks County to house his fictional miniature village was so popular, for so long.

With the property having sold in December, and much of the village up for auction now, Gieringer’s family picked out a few pieces for themselves, for the memories.

“We can’t keep it all,” said Bettina Heinsohn, Geiringer’s granddaughter and Roadside America’s corporate secretary. “It’s very heartbreaking for all of us. It certainly wasn’t what we envisioned.”

The building had been for sale for several years, with an asking price as high as $2.3 million in 2018. In November, the asking price had fallen to $1.4 million, and according to online records, the property sold for $1.1 million. Heinsohn declined to say who purchased the property and all of its buildings, including a gift shop and the home she grew up in.

Heinsohn, 33, said the family had tried to keep Roadside America going, but COVID-19 restrictions from Harrisburg were the final blow. The last paying customers came through in March.

The auction is currently live, with thousands of bids on hundreds of items from the attraction, everything from miniature barns and movie theaters to vintage trash cans and an assortment of hand-painted Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs. Even the massive, fiberglass sculpture of an Amish couple that greeted customers in the parking lot is for sale. That sculpture is currently listed at $2,700.

The auction ends on Saturday afternoon.

Heinsohn said about 100,000 customers paid to enter Roadside America each year, though attendance had tapered off in recent years. She said the visitors were mostly older, people who would come and sit, to watch the sun set and rise on the world her grandfather built.

She said it’s too easy to blame technology, chalking up Roadside America’s coda to time.

“Yes, there’s a lot of quick and easy entertainment out there,” she said. “But there’s always changes in what people are interested in. People used to play kick the can back in the day, and I don’t want to do that myself.”

Brian Hilbert, Heinsohn’s husband, said there were prospective buyers who had wanted to maintain the attraction, but none of the inquiries, ultimately, worked out. One interested buyer had hoped to move the attraction to Times Square in New York City.

“That would have been really interesting,” he said. “Millions of people would have seen it.”

Hilbert, a manager at Roadside America, said the family reached out to several amusement parks in Pennsylvania to see if they were interested as well. Decades ago, Walt Disney World had expressed a desire in buying the entire village, he said.

Many people have reached out hoping to get one last walk around the village Gieringer started building in 1935. The family turned down those requests, Hilbert said.

“People shouldn’t have to remember the place disassembled,” he said. “We told them to keep the good memories intact.”