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Governor Cupolas

Governor Cupola
Governor Cupola

Historical records show that although they initially appeared in use during the 8th century on Islamic structures, it wasn’t until the late 1600s and early 1700s that cupolas first appeared in Europe. These domes, like the today’s popular Governor cupola, were often used to ventilate stairways and attics by drawing the hot air up and out of the building. The Governor cupola is so named because it was originally used on state capitol buildings, in a large, decorative form. Later, the Governor cupola was frequently used to decorate and embellish governors’ residences. It was widely accepted that homes sporting these attractive rooftop pieces housed persons of wealth and status.

Governor cupolas, as do all such domes, have three distinct sections. The top, or roof, may have as few as four and as many as 12 sections that come to a peak, like a pagoda, or are rounded into a dome. The roof may be composed of wood, copper, vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum. Next is the middle or center section. This area may have louvers or windows, or may be completely open or closed (depending on whether or not the Governor cupola is being used as a vent). Finally, there is the base or bottom section. This area is usually built of wood, as it is important in mounting the cupola to the structure.

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