Cliff House Project
A Program of Western Neighborhoods Project

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Cliff House Model
by Charlie Moran



human figurines cast real shadows against the windows













Materials used to construct the model:
1/64" Birch Plywood
1/32" Wood Sheet
1/2" Wood Base
MDO Backboard
2" Styrofoam Boards... 3ea.
3 Rope Lights...2 @ 36''  and 1 @ 18''
Balsa Wood
Clear Plastic
Air Brush Supplies
And little people
Dimensions: 4' X 45" X 12"


Charlie Moran was born in San Francisco on December 21st 1944. Earliest recollection of making anything was building a Renault horseless carriage from a plastic model kit when he was a Cub Scout. From that first model until he graduated from high school in 1963 he must have made close to 100 models by then. After a stint in the USAF he started working for American Airlines until his retirement after 32 years.

In 1975 he came across a Victorian dollhouse in a craft store. He thought that he could do a much better job than the artist who made it. The rest is history. After making countless Victorian houses and facades and also branching into wooden and metal pedal planes he started making landmark miniatures for local historical societies. First with the Lorenzo Theatre and then with the Cerrito Theatre. This opened the way to making several miniatures of San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach for a museum in El Cerrito called Playland-not-at-the-Beach. He built the Fun House, the Big Dipper, Laff in the Dark, one of the famous Towers to the midway and other novelties now on display to the public. His latest creation is the 1896 Cliff House. Made of various types of wood it took a year and 9 months to complete. He used close to 50 photo’s. All from different angles to be sure he didn’t leave anything out. When asked why did he build it, he simply said “because it was a challenge”.

He is always looking for more projects to do. Perhaps next, the Sutro Baths...?


California State Fair

1995-Haunted Doll House
        1st Place
        Best of Class
        Special Award
1997- Airplane Hanger Birdhouse
        Award of Merit
1998- Gee Bee Pedal Plane
        1st Place
        Best of Class
        Best of Division
1999- P-51 Mustang Pedal Plane
        1st Place
        Best of Class
        Best of Division
2000 – Bakery Dollhouse
        1st Place
        Stearman Push Plane
        1st Place
2002- Lorenzo Theatre
        2nd Place
2006-Cerrito Theatre
        Honorable Mention
2007-Playland at the Beach -Fun House-
2nd Place
2009-Red Baron Pedal Plane
        Honorable Mention
2010-Flower Shop Doll House
        3rd Place
2011-1896 San Francisco Cliff House
        2nd Place


Other Models by Charlie Moran