Richard Mayers' collection of barn toppers honers underrated relics.
Opposite page: A LaCrosse cupola towers over a Butler (right) and an unknown model (left). All three are displayed at the Albany Pioneer Grounds at Albany, Minn.
Right: Richard Mayers’ last name is etched in this stained glass, kite-shaped wind arrow.
Above: Richard Mayers and Terri Gertken, owner of the Albany Antique Center, hold unique items from his collection: a Black Swan arrow tail, an “M” once bolted to the crown of a cupola in Waverly, Iowa, and a James Co. pig mounted on a wind arrow.
Left: A mid-size unknown cupola, displayed at Albany Pioneer Grounds.Center: The Clay Co. made a small cupola only 14 to 16 inches across the base and 18 inches high. (Photo by Bill Vossler.)Right: Because this James Co. cupola and arrow were removed from a chicken coop roof, they now sit at a 30-degree slant.
Right: A zinc steel cow rides the tail of an elaborate arrow, spinning around an arrowhead-shaped lightning rod point and a zinc steel ball. The diamond-shaped “M” on the directional identifies the manufacturer: Milwaukee Corrugated Tin Co. This complete set might have cost $100 when it was new.
Left: A wooden cupola from Fort Ripley, Minn., has close-cut three-way joints, each louver and gable angle-cut by hand. Richard Mayers removed layers of steel and asphalt shingles to expose the original wooden shingles.
Above: An embossed design in the upper band enhances a King Co. cupola. King, an early manufacturer in Minneapolis, produced many of the most common cupolas.
Below: This rusted cupola is an example of simple models made in Pierz, Minn.
Left: Two different looks for a cupola: A large blue Electra ball in a tall twisted-wire pendant holder, next to an angled dark red Diddie-Blitzen ball on a scrolled metal stand.
Far right: Made in LaCrosse, Wis., this cupola is Mayers’ tallest, stretching 13-1/2 feet to the point. It would be difficult to find and take down one as large. (Photo by Bill Vossler.)
Right: This Chief cupola was manufactured in Iowa. The weathered paint identifying it is visible only on close inspection.