The residents of Castaic call it “Gnome Island.”
And, on Gnome Island, a patch of green set inside the roundabout on Hasley Canyon Road, decorative garden gnomes not quite knee-high appear, much to the delight of families with kids who know them and point to them daily as they drive by.
However, tragedy struck Gnome Island on Friday night, when vandals smashed some of the garden gnomes and stole the others.
“My daughter (Gwen) just loves looking at them as we drive through the roundabout,” Sara Stinson told The Signal Thursday. “She was very sad when they were destroyed.”
Other Castaic residents who also relish seeing the gnome population “magically” increase on the island were also crushed by the gnome “massacre,” with many sharing their sentiments on social media posts.
“I think it’s great for our small town,” one Castaic mother told The Signal. “Whenever we take the kids to school, they love to count them.
“It started off as one a long time ago, and nobody knows quite what happened but then there was two. They came and they stayed,” she said.
In the spirit of Easter bunnies secretly leaving Easter eggs, or Christmas presents left under a tree, no one is quite sure who is behind the populating of Gnome Island — but Castaic residents are grateful for the effort.
Zoey, the woman’s 8-year-old daughter, told The Signal: “I like the gnomes and I love seeing them on my way to school and I want people to put more gnomes on Gnome Island.”
It appears someone got the message a while ago, since whoever took the Gnomes on Friday returned them to the island before the weekend was over.
“Someone has been putting gnomes on the roundabout. The kids spot them. First, there was one, then two, three. Some go missing, but others take their place,” said 18-year Castaic resident Michelle Clemens Erzrumly.
“Whenever there’s a new one, we say, ‘Oh they put our gnome back.’ At the most, there were at least six, maybe more,” she said.
“A couple of days ago, I went by there and saw they were smashed. Some disappeared, then they’re back,” she said.
“There’s a couple of people who keep replacing them,” she said.
Gardeners work around the gnomes, she said, noting that one of her friends purchased a gnome to replace one that went missing.
When news of the phenomenon reached The Signal, photographer Ryan Mancini went out to document it — an exercise that did not go unnoticed.
“When I saw the photographer out there I thought, ‘Great, now they’ve got their own photo shoot,’” said Clemens Erzrumly.
For anyone curious about the gnome trend who plans on driving through the roundabout at Hasley, look for the green road sign.
Someone has stenciled the image of a gnome in the center of the sign — just in case there was any doubt that the small patch of roundabout median was anything but Gnome Island.
“That was the pinnacle,” said one Castaic mother proud to see the silhouette of a gnome painted on the sign. “When we saw that, we all thought that, ‘There, now that’s Gnome Island,’”