Sep 30, 2014 9:00 PM

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Bats in the Belfry?

Nutfield Genealogy

Every Wednesday for more than three years Vincent and I have been posting photographs of weather vanes located in or near the Nutfield area (the former name for the land where Londonderry, Derry and Windham, New Hampshire are now located). Most are historically interesting or just whimsical and fun weather vanes. If you know an interesting weather vane, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Today's weather vane was found in a just across the border in Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weather vane #176? Scroll down to see the answer....

Today's weather vane was photographed on Route 119 in Townsend, Massachusetts. This is the Spaulding Memorial School. I thought it was a bit odd to have a bat on a school, but I guess I'm not the only one. I found the reference in a book about Townsend history- page 69 from Townsend, by the Townsend Historical Society, published by Arcadia Publishing, 2006. "This bat, which has graced the cupola of Spaulding Memorial School since June 29, 1932, has inspired a great deal of speculation. The image of a bat for the weather vane seems like an odd choice; a wise, old owl is a more common choice. One theory states that the Spaulding brothers originally wanted to build a school twice as large as the final building. The townspeople refused, believing Townsend would never have enough school aged children to fill it. The brothers acquiesced, but insisted that the bat be used as a weather vane to remind the townspeople that they had "bats in the belfry". Another theory maintains that an owl was ordered for the weather vane but a bat was mistakenly sent instead. It was installed temporarily, with the intent to return it. Seventy-five years later, the bat still sits on top of the Spaulding Memorial School."

The Spaulding Memorial School, Townsend, MA website:

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Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


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