Heritage Village, Vineland, Ontario

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weathervanecupola Our Village Cupolas

 One unifying architectural décor in Heritage Village is the cupola, crowned with a horse weather vane.

Cupolas are a characteristic of colonial architecture more than a century ago. Cupolas prevented moisture problems such as mildew and peeling paint by allowing  warm moist air to escape through the louvered sides, while protecting from the weather. Larger cupolas, with inside access, were referred to as belvederes and were popular on farms, to signal the field workers or watch the weather.


The Moyer House (1851-1994)  that once stood on Heritage Village land, had a belvedere, as do existing Century houses in Jordan and Beamsville.  

S. Moyer House, Vineland (1851);  Woodburn, Beamsville (1834); S.K. Moyer, Jordan (1840) 


Roof cupola designs were popular for residential homes in Mid-Eastern USA, after the revolution, and were brought north to the Niagara area by the Loyalists and Mennonites.  The early Mennonite churches in Niagara didn’t have steeples but had cupolas for ventilation as did  homes, barns and schools. The cupolas also served as bell towers.  Both functional cupolas and belvederes can be seen on century-old homes in Niagara. Cupolas in Heritage Village are mostly ornamental, since we have forgotten their practical purpose. 


The brass horse at our Village entrance, and the clubhouse sign, show a galloping horse.  But we don't gallop much anymore. Our weathervanes display a prancing horse: only a few are in full gallop, or rise rampant or pull an Amish buggy. 

Alas, the horse is no longer the sole arbiter of our winds: we now have a rooster, a dog, a hawk and a duck.  One rooster per village is perhaps acceptable, as is an Amish buggy with horse.  But who thought to put a motor car on a roof in an 1850's Mennonite Village ? - How anachronous ! 

 Then there are the bald cupolas, with no sense of direction  - are there horse thieves in the Village?

Village Conformists: 

Village Baldies:

Village Rebels: 

 We won't expose the heretics, but you may want to check the Pear Tree.

Requiem: April 28, 2011

After 25 years crowning the Village peaks, our beloved cupolas suffered a catastrophic wind storm that  sent some to the land fill.  See our article: "Gone with the Wind". 

Rather than repair, some owners decided to decapitate their roof-line and sell their iconic horse vane for a few coins.  Neighbourhoods decay when upkeep is ignored in favour of economy.  Don't then complain when our Village house prices stagnate or decline.

Further Reading

If you want a functional Cupola:



Breadcrumb Trail

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