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Twin Towers & Story

Important to America and to Ed Tikkhanen Too


American Folk Art Buildings well merge three aspects and elements:

   architectural history

•   national culture & identity & values

•   makers with skill & passion & imagination


From such rich content possibilities, they unsurprisingly also often yield stories

of information & persons & revelation.


Here . . .  a pleasing story merging a place important to American architecture and culture and to Mr. Ed Tikkhanen of Howell NJ.  Dying in 2016 at age 86, he was for 30 years a tugboat First Mate officer around Manhattan. Locating and talking in late 2023 to his son and sparky 92 year old widow, I learned from both of Ed’s endless pleasure at looking at NYC from the water – which he manifested by shaping it in these and many other groupings mostly in the 1980s and always in the basement. I asked if she ever helped to which she answered

lord no she just sent him down there.


Her doing so nicely affirms the take of leading American curator Mark Sloan that among varied reasons for making buildings was possibly The Mistress in the Basement. In perhaps an isolated Pennsylvania house on a cold night in the 1930s with just the two of them with few distractions and not much talking, he moves down to his work bench possibly near the furnace and makes small their house or their church or recollection of the county fair. He might have made a mirror or a box too, based in his skill and interest,

but we’re glad these guys made a good building.


Per Ms. Tikkhanen and a New Jersey area TV segment, she tried with no success to give the basement-filling Manhattan makings to a museum or community institution. She finally had a picker come with an open flatbed trailer behind his pickup to take them away, and sadly never knew what happened. These two were consigned to a northern New Jersey auction by a Manhattan window designer who got them somehow somewhere and used them for years.


The Twin Towers grouping is 38” tall on a 16” square base and weighs a New Yorky 80 lbs.

The preposterously silvery starred Empire State grouping is 29” tall and 24” long.

Tikkhanen Empire CU2.jpg
Tikkhanen Empire CU3.jpg
Tikkhanen Empire CU1_edited.jpg
Tikkhanen Empire CU1.jpg

Ed had an eye for it all, merging accuracy with extractive nuances.

Fluorescent light baffles worked usefully for elevations. 

Made perhaps just 40 years ago, they are late for this collection and this sort of making. Wonderfully, this is only the third of our 1300 structures to reveal full provenance:

maker & when & where & why & if a real building.

Tikkhanen Twin Back.jpeg
Tikkhanen Twin CU1.jpg
Tikkhanwn Twin Side.jpeg
Tikkhanen Twin CU5.jpg
Tikkhanen Twin CU2.jpg
Tikkhanen Twin CU3.jpg
Tikkhanen TwinUp.png
Tikkhanen Twin CU4.jpeg
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