Miniature cigar box tramp art houses by Charles Cole of Racine, Wisconsin. Mr. Cole created an entire city, in magnificent detail, from cigar boxes he collected from Rehl's Book Store in Racine, and that was the city he recreated in meticulous, remarkable detail. Actually, Mr. Cole created an idealized city, bringing in prominent buildings from Madison, Chicago and elsewhere, but he placed them in his perfect world.
There were 75 buildings, of which four are shown here. As far as I know, one is the only unfinished piece (unpainted, anyway) which shows some of the detail work before he painted them. Precision cut with laser skill, though the laser was still fifty years in the future. As you can see in one piece here, (with bolts and nuts shown for size) many of the houses were wired for light. Which is probably why the unpainted house has SEVENTY-TWO windows!
Here is the kicker. Cole made each house IN TRIPLICATE! One for each of his children.
Mr. Cole's work, or at least one set, was apparently purchased as a lot and is now being dispersed on your favorite online auction site. A shame, it could not be kept together, but then Charles may have been tickled to know how far his little creations have been spread.
Some of the most remarkable buildings I know which were made of cigar boxes, and I aim to keep them together.
Four miniature houses, circa 1935, by Charles M. Cole collection Jim Linderman
ORDER BOOKS AND EBOOKS ($5.99) BY JIM LINDERMAN HERE