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Sig Jagielski in his simulated saloon.
1993 - Sig Jagielski in his simulated saloon.

Sig Jagielski's Jugville USA (Closed)

Field review by the editors.

Grafton, North Dakota

Sig Jagielski was 83 when we visited him in 1993. He began filling his basement with "collections" in 1959 after his parents died.

"I'd always liked old stuff, but my folks, they didn't. So when they passed away, I was on my own!"

He began his town in 1972, inspired by a trip to California's Knotts Berry Farm. "I thought, 'By golly, I'm gonna do something like this'."

The first thing he built was a chapel in memory of his parents. That obligation out of the way, Sig went on to build 13 more buildings and fill them with his stuff.

Hospital patient.

Jugville's "main street" extends behind Sig's garage into a grove of trees -- a line of half-sized shops, a church and a school leading to larger buildings that house still more junk. It's called Jugville because people who can't pronounce Sig's name call him "Jug O' Whiskey".

Friends and neighbors kept giving him stuff they couldn't bear to throw away because they know he can't refuse. "If I did, maybe the next time someone had something good someone'd say, 'Oh, don't give it to Sig, he doesn't want it.'"

This is Sig's greatest fear.

"I'd rather have this than be a millionaire. If I didn't have this, would you have come here? You wouldn't even know who the hell I was!"

Sig has no intention of dying any time soon. "You gotta keep active. You gotta have a hobby. I got a lot of relatives younger than me who are dead and buried. They couldn't WAIT to get Social Security. Look where it got 'em."

January 2004: 2 months later, and Sig is dead. He passed away in his home in Grafton. Sig had a long career, some 43 years, playing polkas, Norwegian and Polish music on a Grafton radio show. His DJ name was "Uncle Sig." He is buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Minto, North Dakota.

Sig's shrine to his parents.
Sig's shrine to his parents.

November 2003: Sig is still alive (age 93) and Jugville USA is still there -- but it's not
open. Sig had hip replacement surgery this year and he can't take visitors through -- right now. (He was still conducting tours last year.) His caretaker explained that Sig hopes to be back as a tourguide eventually, although she wasn't exactly sure when.

Sig Jagielski's Jugville USA

7 1/2 miles north of Grafton on US. 81. On the west side, a white set of buildings. Look for the mailbox -- "Sig Jagielski" -- there's no sign.
Currently closed

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