Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A replacement Eagle

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  I first started by publishing posts about weathervanes from the Nutfield area, but now I've been finding interesting and historical weathervanes from all over New Hampshire and New England.  Sometimes my weathervanes have an interesting history, and sometimes they are just whimsical.  Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weathervanes outside of New England.  Today's story was sent to me by a reader who was traveling through the state of Maine for a family reunion.

Today's weathervane is from Maine.

Do you know the location of weather vane #223?  Scroll down to see the answer!

A blog reader and fellow genealogist Sharon Gillis spotted this weathervane in Wilton, Maine.  She was up there attending an ADAMS family reunion.  This three dimensional eagle is located on the Academy Hill School, formerly known as Wilton Academy. When she pulled over to photograph the building and weathervane she also discovered a little cemetery across the street, Academy Hill Cemetery, and at least half a dozen family members buried there.  A win for Sharon and a win for “Weathervane Wednesday”!

The Wilton Academy building was originally a meeting house, and used by three different churches until about 1930. It was a high school from 1866 until 1967. The Wilton Academy was converted into a junior high school in 1968, and was destroyed by a fire in 1980.  It was rebuilt as a public school “The Academy Hill School” for grades 3 to 6, and apparently this new weathervane was installed then on the new tower. 

At the Adams family reunion Sharon met a distant cousin, Gary Adams, who told her “I was on the East Wilton Volunteer Fire Department back then.  We fought that fire along with more than 150 other volunteers from many towns in the area.  I graduated from Wilton Academy in 1967.  Our class was the 100th and the last class to graduate before consolidation of 9 area town schools that became School Administrative District #9.”  The fire occurred on a Sunday, Mother's Day, in 1980, so no children were in the building.  The cause was found to be faulty wiring.

Sharon Gillis with her Adams distant cousins
in Wilton, Maine for the Adams Family Reunion

The Academy Hill School website

A link to The Lewiston Daily Sun, Lewiston, Maine, May 12, 1980, page 1, with a story “Fire Guts Old Wilton Academy” that is continued on page 14.   Note the photograph on page 1 with another eagle weathervane.  It states that “the eagle, symbol of Wilton Academy high school teams, crashed in flames Saturday afternoon seconds after this picture was taken.”   This eagle is clearly a different weathervane, so it must have been replaced when the academy building was rebuilt.

Here is a link to the book Wilton, by Tamara N. Hoke, by Acadia Publishing, 2014,  page 64, with a photograph of the Wilton Academy in the aftermath of the fire (no weathervane in sight!)     

Click here to see the entire series of weathervanes at this blog!

Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ A replacement Eagle", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 26, 2015, ( : accessed [access date]).

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