Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weathervane Wednesday ~ An Old Fashioned Fire Engine

Every Wednesday for almost a year and half I've been posting photographs of weathervanes located in or near the Nutfield area (the former name for the land where Londonderry, Derry and Windham, New Hampshire are now located). Most are historically interesting or just whimsical and fun weathervanes. Today's weathervane can be seen in in a museum, but it was originally located in Manchester, New Hampshire. Have fun guessing where you may have seen this weather vane.

Do you know the location of weather vane #94? Scroll down to see the answer....

Weather vane
Atrributed to J. W. Fiske Company
New York City
Found in Manchester,
New Hampshire
Late 19th century
Copper and other metals (brass, zinc and iron)
Purchased from Edith Halpert, Dowtown Gallery, 1952
The weather vane was once used on a firehouse in
Manchester, New Hampshire.  It is the largest and
grandest weather vane in the museum's collection and
is a reminder of how ambitious designers were in the
late 19th century in their quest to make an impressive
silhouette on a firehouse roof.

Today's weather vane was spotted by Gerry Savard at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.  I know Gerry from the American Canadian Genealogy Society in Manchester, and he was recently one of the co-chairs of the New England Regional Genealogy Conference last month in Manchester (He is also a past president of NERGC).  Gerry was sharp eyed to notice that this weather vane was originally installed over a firehouse in Manchester, New Hampshire.  If you photograph a great weather vane and think it should be featured on Weathervane Wednesday, please leave me a comment here or an email at

The Shelburne museum is my favorite New England museum for folk art, like weathervanes.  They have a terrific collection of all types of New England objects, everything from collections of buildings,a  220 foot steamship, train cars and other large objects, down to smaller objects such as tools, quilts, advertising art, and even weather vanes and whirligigs.

I think the amount of detail in this weather vane is extremely interesting.  When you consider that this weathervane was probably installed three or more stories high, no one could possibly appreciate these details from the streets of Manchester.  The curator at the Shelburne Museum was careful to put this weather vane at eye level, so visitors could examine all the small details of this old fashioned, horse drawn fire engine.

This photograph is from the Manchester Historic Association.  This weather vane in their collection was from the Fire King Engine Company Firehouse on Manchester's West Side, the building that today is the West Side Library.  It is supposed to have been hand-made by the men of the fire station.  It is very similar to the weather vane in the Shelburne Museum.  According to Jeff Barraclough,  The Manchester Historic Association  Assistant Executive Director, they did not know which fire station originally housed the weather vane from the Shelburne Museum.

American Canadian Genealogy Society

New England Regional Genealogy Conference

Shelburne Museum

Manchester Historic Association

Click here to see the entire collection of Weathervane Wednesday posts!


Photographs one through four are from Gerry Savard, used with permission
Photograph number five is from the Mancheter Historic Association
Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. THIS sculpture was a weather vane? How did they support all of this carefully crafted metal one one roof?? And there was another weather vane like this one? Wonders will never cease.