The following Cupola F.A.Q. is the result of the many email
messages that I have received regarding cupolas and my site in
general. It is now in two parts, having grown too large for a single
page. Please understand that any links that appear on this page are
only to assist you in your search for additional information. They
are not meant as an endorsement of any company, product, or service.
Also note that at any given moment, a few of the offsite links found here may
be offline. This is the nature of links, web servers, and the ever
changing Internet. Most bounce back within a day or two.
Cupola periodically verifies and updates its collection of links, so any
really dead or broken ones will not hang around indefinitely.
Cupola questions answered on THIS page:
Cupola questions answered on the Previous
Where may I stay in a cupola?
Looking for a room with a cupola? Well, a few inns, hotels, and
B&B's do feature them, or their close tower and belfry relatives.
Here's a list of some places that you might try:
Starrett Mansion in Port Townsend, Washington.
A well-known Bed and Breakfast in the Stick Style that features a
prominent stair tower with a cupola cap.
1844 Country House Hotel of Taneytown, Maryland. According
to local legend, Civil War General George Meade planned his Gettysburg
campaign from the rooftop cupola of this former plantation.
Tower in Mendocino, California. A charming tower
house for rent, crowned with a cool observation deck.
The Big Bay
Point Lighthouse in Big Bay, Michigan. Not really a cupola, but it's a close relative.
Wheeler House in Mystic, Connecticut. A
gracious vacation rental house, built in 1853 in the Italianate
style. Features a cool rooftop cupola bedroom with a view.
Check out the house
The Chalfonte Hotel,
in Cape May, New Jersey. Built in 1876 in the elegant Italianate style,
this historic landmark boasts leisurely, wraparound verandas, and a
handsome rooftop cupola to boot. Recipient of the New Jersey Historic
Preservation Award in 2001.
a Bed and Breakfast in Rome, Italy. It doesn't have a cupola of
its own, but it does offer a view of the one that crowns the Vatican.
House in Essex, New York. Located on Lake
Champlain in upstate New York, this restored Greek Revival guesthouse
sports a simple rooftop cupola. A phone number is available here,
if that link goes offline.
Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. This splendid
old Queen Anne resort hotel features a bar
in its big cupola.
of the Seasons. Located in Jefferson, Texas, this
Bed and Breakfast is an Italianate Villa with a large central cupola on
its roof. It is also open for touring (check their site for details),
and is historically significant enough for
in the Historic American Building Survey.
Hill Inn of Madison, Wisconsin. Locally known
as a rare example of the German Romaneque Revival style, in many ways it
also evokes the spirit of an Italianate villa. Inside a 4 story spiral staircase
climbs up to a belvedere with a panoramic view of the city and its lakes.
Inn in Orange, Virginia. An Italianate Bed and
Breakfast with a handsome cupola near Madison's Montpelier and
Resort, Bolton Landing, New York. Set
in the Adirondacks on Lake George, this historic grand hotel features
a cupola crowned entrance tower reminiscent of
Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Mansion of Cape May, New Jersey is an Italianate Inn
with a cupola. They were recently advertising a rather unique
gourmet dining experience for up to four people, served in their rooftop
Park Hotel. A Victorian style hotel located in San
Francisco, California, that offers a room called the Cupola Room.
Judging from the hotel picture, it looks like it might be more of a dome
covered corner room than a rooftop sanctuary.
House, a Bed and Breakfast Inn in Boston,
Massachusetts, is a blend of Italianate and Greek Revival styles.
Built in 1855, it sports a
handsome octagonal rooftop cupola.
Inn, of Littleton, New Hampshire. Built around
1850 in the Greek Revival vernacular, this gracious inn is blessed with
an octagonal rooftop cupola of Italianate design.
Hotel of Santa Barbara, California. Billed
as the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California, this
1871 landmark is topped with a belvedere cupola characteristic of the Italianate Villa style.
Mansion of Charleston, South Carolina is a Second
Empire style inn. It features an elegant spiral staircase that
leads up to a towering cupola, where guests can take in a panoramic view
of the historic city.
Hill Inn in West Townshend, Vermont (southern
Vermont). Its Marion
Goodfellow suite in the White Barn offers a stairway leading to a
cupola with a window seat.
Where's a good place to see (or maybe
tour) a cupola?
Several of the State Capitol Buildings that I list in my Cupolas
of Capitalism section offer public tours of their domes and
cupolas (some by special appointment only). Many churches do too,
especially some of the better known ones in Europe, like Santa
Maria del Fiore in Florence (Florence Cathedral) and San
Pietro Basilica (St. Peter's Basilica, a.k.a. the Vatican) in Rome.
Here are a few others that you might find worth a visit.
Chambord. The roof of this spectacular 16th
century royal castle is a riot of rooftop cupolas, turrets, and
chimneys. Located near Tours, in France's beautiful Loire River
House in Edenton, North Carolina, an early colonial
dwelling that is a National Historic Landmark.
The old Governor's
Mansion in Sacramento, California, was designed in
1877 by architect Nathaniel Goodell in the Second Empire style.
While it doesn't really have a real cupola per se, it does boast a 5
story tower once used for intimate late night poker parties. The
tower is now off limits to visitors.
Historic Site in Towson, Maryland. An elegant
mansion built in 1790, and capped with an impressive domed cupola /
belvedere. Run by the U.S. National Park Service. More info
and pictures of the building
and its grounds are available at Gilbert Le Blanc's Computer
Chair Traveler website.
House in Macon, Georgia, is an 18000 sq. ft. Italian
Renaissance Revival home crowned with a domed rooftop cupola/ belvedere.
Square in Los Angeles, CA. Boasts at least two
houses with cupolas. The Knudsen House is a Second Empire style
home with a belvedere style rooftop cupola. The Octagon House
possesses a central rooftop cupola crown. The open air museum also
features several other fine Victorian buildings.
House is an elegant Greek Revival plantation home
built in 1840 near Burnside, Louisiana. A big windowed cupola tower
crowns its roof.
Octagon House of Mumford, New York (formerly of
Friendship, New York). A historic
house museum with a cupola in the octagon style popularized in the mid
1800's by Orson Squire Fowler, the noted phrenologist.
Here's a tongue-in-cheek
description of the field. It is part of the collection of over
forty restored structures
at the Genesee Country Village and Museum,
a living history museum in western
New York State.
Restorations in Janesville, Wisconsin is another
grand old Italianate
villa (1855-57) with a rooftop cupola/ belvedere. Abraham Lincoln
once stayed overnight here while on a speaking tour in 1859. All five levels,
from basement to cupola, are open for touring.
in Natchez Mississippi, is an octagonal antebellum plantation designed
by noted Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan and built between 1860 and
1861. Although the Civil War prevented its completion, the home
stands out for its exotic design, as its
in the Historic American Building Survey makes clear. It sports a
commanding, 16 sided rooftop cupola/ belvedere. More
are available from the National Register of Historic Places
that the U.S. National Park Service hosts.
State Building in Poland Spring, Maine. One of
the remaining buildings from the
World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. This unusual
octagonal Victorian with Chateauesque leanings includes a three story rotunda
that is capped with a leaded glass dome and a fanciful open-air rooftop
belvedere/ cupola. More pictures and info
Vernon. President George Washington's home in
Virginia undoubtedly helped popularize the cupola across the United States.
Muir National Historic Site in Martinez,
California. The Italianate style home of the famous
conservationist features a central rooftop cupola / belvedere.
House of San Francisco, California. One of two
Italianate homes of octagonal design left in the city, and the only one
open to the public. It features a relatively short, rooftop cupola.
The Loren Andrus Octagon
House of Washington, Michigan. Built by a man from
Genesee County in New York, this Italianate, brick home boasts a spiral staircase
that climbs to a third floor, rooftop cupola.
House of Watertown, Wisconsin. Home of the
Watertown Historical Society, this impressive brick home boasts a fifth
floor cupola with commanding views of the nearby Rock River. The
cupola is open to the public and is accessible from a central spiral
Packer Mansion Museum of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Designed
by the same architect of Longwood mentioned earlier, this grand 18 room
Italianate villa is capped with a magnificent central rooftop cupola/ belvedere.
House of Oakland, California. A gracious
Italianate Villa (1868) that was home to the California governor who
served during the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Features
a grand rooftop cupola. Located next to the charming Preservation
The Rich-Twinn Octagon House
of Akron, New York. The Newstead
Historical Society maintains this octagonal house museum with a cupola.
Pavilion in Brighton, England. This formal royal
palace boasts an Indian inspired design with a profusion of onion domes and
minerets. Initially constructed as a neoclassical pavilion in the
late 18th century, architect John Nash transformed it into this exotic
pleasure palace between 1813 and 1823.
Francisco Plantation in Garyville, Louisiana.
An inspired Steamboat Gothic fantasy topped with a low cupola /
monitor. Flanking the house are some rather exotic looking towers
with onion domes.
Mahal in Agra, India. An impressive virtual
reality site of one of the most famous domed buildings in the
world. Parts of the site are only visible after a small
donation. PBS also offers some good coverage of this
via its "Treasures of the World" program.
Grove Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Features
several fanciful Victorian garden pavilions with cupolas.
Octagon House of Camillus, New York. Still
another historic house museum with a cupola in the octagon style.
Mystery House of San Jose, California. Built
in response to the supernatural concerns of its owner, widowed inheritor
of the Winchester rifle fortune, this Queen Anne pile has become
legendary as the ultimate spook house. Largely unfinished,
it offers a fascinating glimpse into Victorian construction. Its
roof features a cornucopia of gables, towers, and cupolas of one
kind or another.
Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. A
Romanesque Revival structure that is the home of the world's largest
refracting telescope. Technically speaking, the observatory's
three domes are merely cupola related structures rather than cupolas
themselves. It's still a great place to visit.
What other cupola related links can
Here are a few that I have come across with some sort of cupola or dome connection:
About Domes. An excellent primer on the design
and construction of selected domes throughout history. Part of WGBH
of Boston's Building
Big website, which supplements their five part public television
series of the same name.
Monuments. Many of the churches and monasteries
in this image collection feature cupolas and related structures. Part
of Vahagn Avedian's history of Armenia at
Regional Fire Museum in Aurora, Illinois. This
firefighting history museum has made its home in a delightful Victorian
firehouse with an onion dome.
Journal. What's a barn without a cupola?
Well, they're not always present, but the round
barn section of this site features quite a few.
Cupola at Florence Cathedral. One of the
most important engineering feats of the Italian Renaissance. Part
of the Florence Art
Rex site. Offers an enormous collection of
photos of St.
Peter's Basilica and the Vatican City in Rome. The church
boasts one of the largest masonry domes and cupolas ever built, and a
rooftop that is an almost surreal landscape of undulating domes and
of the Holy Shroud. From Kim Williams, an article about
Guarino Guarini's Baroque masterpiece in Turin, Italy. Crowned with one of
the strangest domes and cupolas ever conceived, the chapel was unfortunately heavily
damaged in a 1997 fire. The article discusses restoration efforts, and still
appears here thanks to the Internet Archive. See
this University of Chicago Press site for more
dome pictures and info.
Temple chapter, from the Ten
Books on Architecture by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, (Morris Hicky
Morgan, editor of this English edition). This ancient and highly
influential architectural treatise describes the design of circular
temples, which have inspired many a cupola. Part of
Dome, Symbol of American Democracy. A nice
exhibit from the National
Building Museum in Washington D.C. Thanks to the
for continuing to make it available.
Grand Mosque dome of Bahrain. View of a contemporary dome built from fiber
reinforced polyester, part of the BFG International site.
The Dome of the Rock.
Wikipedia article on the oldest Islamic building in the world.
site. Offers a great picture gallery of Islamic
architecture, with an exuberant display of cupolas,
domes, and minarets.
The site also covers Islamic religion, art, and culture. In Italian
Dome. As a sort of modern day
Palace, this enormous exhibition hall welcomed in the Western
World's 21st century. Large enough to enclose the Great Pyramid of
Giza, it is currently only open for short term special events.
Links thanks to Wikipedia as the originals go dark.
Churches. Offers history and a number of
images of many of the city's onion-domed and cupola-topped churches.
Architecture pages. Part of a larger site on
this Russian city, this section includes quite a few examples of
historic buildings with onion domes and cupolas. These sites about
the central Asian countries of the Tatarstan
offer examples in a similar vein.
David Moore's Roman
Concrete website. Includes extensive coverage
of the Pantheon,
a Roman temple built circa 100-125 A.D. Its dome was unsurpassed
in clear span for more than a millennium, and still stands today, an
incredible feat of ancient engineering.
Sites website, where anthropologist Martin Gray
shares his excellent photographs of religious sites from around the
world. The scholarly commentary that he has been adding is an
added bonus. Plenty of cupolas and domes on display here,
check out his page on the Dome of the Rock
Jerusalem, and this one of some churches in
Russia to see a few.
Sarah Brandes Madry's book,
Well Worth a Shindy, The Architectural and Philosophical
History of the Old Well at the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill. Thoughtful exploration of a round temple design
that crowns an old well. Offers an excellent review of similar
circular temple forms throughout history, and the ideas that they
Churches of Eastern Europe. A review of David
Buxton's book by Andrew Gregorovich. Offers a number of images and
sketches of old wooden churches sporting a profusion of onion domes and
Domes and History site. Now only available via
the Internet Archive Wayback
Machine, it provides a comparison
of domes from around the world. Includes
several historic ones, with an emphasis on modern day sports
domes. Take the building statistics with a grain of salt though,
these tend to vary somewhat from source to source. From the
Eric Weisstein's World
of Mathematics website. Offers a mathematical
description of a cupola. A few of the cupola types he defines
mathematically are the triangular
cupola, the square
cupola, and the pentagonal
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A crazy person, isn't it obvious? Please refer to my About
Cupola section for more information.
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Sorry, same answer as the one above about pictures.
Hey! What's all this architectural
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