North Carolina collectors Steven Burke and Randy Campbell have been amassing miniature folk art buildings for nearly three decades. They own some 1,200 tiny farmhouses, churches, Art Deco theaters, and bowling alleys, all handmade, and most dating from the 19th century. The collection, which is the largest in the U.S., does not include dollhouses, birdhouses, log cabins, or architectural models, Burke emphatically told the New York Times, but does have a miniature pharmacy and a Bauhaus-style home. Some structures are intricately carved, others are crudely hewn, but they are all housed in the couple's three-building Greek Revival compound in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
Some buildings measure just a few inches high, while others are a few feet tall. "Since 1985, I have been avidly – or some would say psychotically – collecting all these things," Burke told the Herald-Sun. He has been able to pick up many of his diminutive dwellings on the cheap, some for as little as five dollars, although the more ornate buildings, like a replica of Thomas Edison's childhood home in Ohio, might cost around $500. Somehow, these astonishing miniature buildings are not very popular to collect. "I bought hundreds on eBay and never had one person bidding against me," Burke told the Times. More photos, below:
· American Folk Art Buildings book [Official site]
· A Vast, Private Collection of Tiny Folk-Art Structures [NYTimes]
· All Miniatures posts [Curbed National]