The Founding Fathers helped expand the weathervane’s popularity by including them on their homes. George Washington commissioned the “peace dove” weathervane for his Mount Vernon home to commemorate the end of the Revolutionary War. Our third president Thomas Jefferson’s cleverly designed weathervane at Monticello was attached to a pointer that went through the ceiling into the room below, allowing him to tell the direction of the wind while inside his home.
As towns grew, weathervanes quickly became fixtures on churches and town halls, since they were generally the tallest buildings and could serve as a communal weather center. In rural areas, where homes and farms were often isolated from local towns, weathervanes remained popular home staples.
As the popularity of weathervanes grew - along with their prosperity - Americans began to create unique and whimsical designs to complement their locations, hobbies, or jobs. People along the coast chose weathervanes in the shape of ships and sea creatures, while farmers would choose roosters or horses to denote a prize stock. Patriotic weathervanes – such as the Goddess of Liberty and the Federal Eagle – were popular in the early 1800s.
During the mid-19th century, baseball and football were yet to become American pastimes. Instead, race horses were the sports heroes, reflected in the explosion of weathervanes depicting horses that ran with the wind. In the 1900’s, simpler styles of architecture came en vogue, leading to the trend of homeowners adding accents to their homes with weathervanes that depicted sporting or humorous scenes or figures, such as the Colonel Sanders weathervanes that graced the roofs of KFC restaurants.
Weathervanes from Valley Forge Cupolas and Weathervanes Add Personality to Your Home
Weathervanes remain popular adornments that add character to any roofline, from a simple farmhouse pointer to the elaborate metalwork of the Victorian gable peak. They are a timeless folk art tradition, and an American tradition since before the birth of our nation. From finials and arrows to birds or novelty weathervanes, Valley Forge Cupolas has over 150 weathervanes to choose from.