Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Boston Landmark

I post another in a series of weather vane photographs every Wednesday.  This started with images of weathervanes from the Londonderry, New Hampshire area, but now I've found interesting weather vanes all across New England and across the globe.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting.  Often my readers tip me off to some very unique or unusual weathervanes, too!  If you know a great weather vane near you, let me know if you'd like to have it featured on this blog.

Today's weather vane was photographed in Boston, Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weathervane post #356?  Scroll down to find the answer.

This weathervane is located on the cupola above the Old State House, 102 feet above the intersection of Washington Street and State Street in Boston, Massachusetts.  This old building was built in 1713 by the Province of Massachusetts Bay’s Royal Governor Joseph Dudley.  This was a government, and governor appointed by the British crown.  That is why you can see the symbols of the monarchy, the lion and the unicorn, at the front of the building.   Today, this building houses a museum run by the Bostonian Society, and the basement is the State Street subway stop on the blue and orange lines. 

This historic weathervane may have been made by Boston coppersmith Shem Drowne, but it has never been proven to be attributed to him.  [To see four other weathervanes made by Shem Drowne, who is my family tree, see these links:  Faneuil Hall, Old North Church, the Museum of Fine Art, and the Cambridge First Church].   In 2008 the cupola was restored and the weathervane was re-gilded.  When the weathervane was being restored, it was examined by Myrna Kaye, the author of the 1975 book Yankee Weathervanes.  Her findings can be read at this webpage:   A slide show, with photos of the re-gilding process on the weathervane, can be seen at this link:

This weathervane is the "swallow tail" or “long-john” style of banner (with two long tails) that was popular in the 18th century.    Shem Drowne’s weathervane on top of the Old North Church is also in the “long johns” style.  There are several weathervanes in this part of Boston, including ones at Faneuil Hall (a grasshoppen) and Quincy Market (a bull), because the waterfront used to be right in this part of downtown.  Weathervanes were useful for shipping, navigation, and weather forecasting.

Click here to see all the Weathervane Wednesday posts! 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Boston Landmark”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 28, 2018, ( accessed [access date]).

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