Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bay of Fundy widow's walk

In addition to Queen Anne and Victorian-inspired architectural features, Bay of Fundy sea captain's houses are also known for their "widow's walks". Widow's walks are railed rooftop platforms originally designed to enable those remaining at home to watch vessels at sea. Since so many ships and crew were lost during the Age of Sail, this design feature ended up being named after the widows left behind.

All folklore aside, there's also a practical reason for these platforms: they are often built around or near the home's chimney which allows for easy access in the event of a chimney fire. Historically - before fire departments - residents poured sand down a chimney to smother flue fires. Lots of room for buckets of sand atop this Fundy house I recently photographed!

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