An Old House Idiosyncracy from the Cogpunk Steamscribe blog
The Widow’s Walk is mainly found on Northern American Victorian-era architecture, though there are examples in other countries. It is called the Widow’s Walk because it is supposedly a place from where wives could keep an eye out for their husbands’ ships. However, since their are many examples of this architectural feature on inland houses without a glimpse of the sea, this is most likely a fabrication.
The Gothic flavour of this myth has all the earmarks of the Victorian obsession with sentimentality: the patience of the faithful wife; the possibility of lost love; the implied promise of the husband’s return; the gloomy yet poetic name. It was also another excuse to add gingerbread and fretwork to ornament the house; which I suspect was the real reason behind the design and construction of the Widow’s Walk. The classic Widow’s Walk is an ornately fenced rooftop platform often with a enclosed cupola, painted in contrasting colours to the rest of the house…
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