Over the Top

Minnesota man builds collection of barn cupolas

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Above: Years ago, this building was the Forestville Township School, where both Marv Grabau and his father were once students. Now used as the Forestville Town Hall, the building has undergone extensive restoration, thanks in part to Marv’s efforts. He also built the wooden cupola atop the building, replacing the original structure built there to house the school bell, long since stolen.Above right: Marv Grabau with one of his cupolas, a 106-inch model graced by a weather vane complete with a handsome horse ornament. This piece fell from a friend’s barn and then, adding insult to injury, suffered attack by a lawnmower. Marv has repaired the piece, which is now ready for installation.Right: Marv recently acquired this outhouse, which dates to 1913, and moved it to his place to serve as a reminder of days long past. The humble structure is loaded with options: a decades-old ventilator and a lightning rod, complete with white glass balls.Below: A classic line-up. From left: A 64-inch cupola with blue glass ball on the lightning rod; a 48-inch cupola with white ball on the lightning rod; and a 32-inch cupola made by the Clay company. The latter model is of a style originally used on brooder houses.