Funny Incident concerning smaller home versus mac mansions

lazypupOctober 16, 2007

A few days ago I was sitting in the local coffee shop and a friend of mine, who is a GC was showing me the prints of a Mac Mansion he is working on.

It is a two story structure with 6BR but what really caught my eye was a small circular room on the top of the roof that looks like a Lighthouse.

The GC says, "Yea. that was not on the original prints but they saw one of those rooms on an old waterfront home in Nantucket, Mass. Years ago the sea captains had those rooms built so their wives could sit up there and watch the horizon for their DH ship to return but i think this homeowner is having it built so he can see over the payment book."

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Yes, I think they were called a "widow's watch." And I agree, those payments are going to be waaay out on the horizon. LOL And there may be a widow involved before they dock. Sandy

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 3:15PM
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It sounds like a turret. They are used on a lot of buildings inland too. They let in a lot of light and were used for sewing rooms or offices back in the day when oil lamps and candles were the only source of lighting other than natural light.

A 'widow's walk' is a small, railed observation platform atop a house. The walks are usually square, done in elaborately-worked wrought iron or wood. They look like a balcony except it is set back into the roof rather than hanging off the side of a building. On huge mansions or castles they were installed to provide access to the roof for repairs and maintenance of the chimney and roofing materials. I suppose that people did go up there to look out at the view occasionally.

Here is a link that might be useful: Turret

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 3:49PM
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Widow's walks were (so I have heard) for when the widow wished to publicly declare she was out of mourning...she'd go up there to be noticed and then people would know they could call on her. The Victorians were ALL about etiquette.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 11:42AM
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I believe the term is "widow's walk". Lazypup's description is as I understand them.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 8:06PM
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This is one description of the use for a widow's walk, as my mother shared with me years ago (she was once a docent for an historic home that had a widow's walk):'s%20walk

"Widow's walk
(thing) by Zxaos (1.5 y) (print) ? Sat Jun 19 2004 at 23:29:59

A widow's walk is the name generally given to a raised platform at or near the top of a house, generally with a railing (often wrought iron). As most widow's walks are on the roof of the house, they are easy to distinguish from balconies.

Almost never found on new houses, and almost solely found in the architecture of communities with a harbour, the main purpose of the walk was to allow a look out to the water, allowing a person to observe the ships near the town.

The name "widow's walk" is derived from the practise of many women going out to the platform to watch the water before or during a storm, to know if their husbands or sons were going to survive the dangerous weather.

Another account of the nomenclature of the walk is that since whalers were often gone for long periods of time (months or ever years), the "widows" stand in the enclosed area, looking out to sea, hoping to spot their men coming home."

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 10:10PM
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They are indeed used to keep watch. There are a number of them in Old Key West Florida. They were also used to see if ships were going aground on the reefs. Key West used to be a "Wrecker" haven.

1eyedJack and the Dawg

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 9:55PM
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