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The Weather Vane News, published by Denninger Cupolas and Weather Vanes, Theodosia, MO USA, Al & Beth Denninger, editors, is an online publication only. Its purpose is to gather and quote material concerning weather vanes from other news sources. We welcome your contributions!

December 22, 2003

Antique Angel Gabriel Stolen

Stolen Angel Gabriel Weather Vane

The Angel Gabriel Weathervane was built by a local blacksmith Henry Foster in 1822, probably from ore mined locally. The weathervane is the single most valuable object in the small town of Crown Point, NY (population 1,800).

Angel Gabriel has been on the steeple of three successive White Churches all on the same site. He has been there since James Monroe was President, through the building of the Erie and Champlain Canals, the Civil War and many other tragedies of our country.

He has been a symbol of Peace and strength in our neighborhood all these years. The peace has now been shattered with the theft of our Angel Gabriel.

In the middle of the night around the 12th of November 2003 the Angel Gabriel was stolen from the steeple of the White Church on White Church Road in Crown Point, NY. The 181 year old Angel weathervane has several bullet holes in it. It is made of sheet iron and the exact length is unknown.

Found at the church was a cheap aluminum angel weathervane that was spray-painted black complete with bullet holes. It seems the thieves tried to replace the original so no one would notice it's disappearance but they couldn't get the fake one on the steeple, it was found laying on the ground near the church. Our Angel Gabriel is terribly missed by our town and we hope that someone will recognize him and return him to us.

If you have any information on Angel Gabriel please contact Trooper Robert Buell of The New York State Police, Schroon Lake Barracks at 518 532-7691 or Crown Point town Historian, Joan Hunsdon at 518 597-3863.

Thank you. Pat Dorr 191 Hogan Hill Road Crown Point, NY 12928 (518)597-3888

"The Fall Show" by Lita Solis-Cohen, Maine Antique Digest, Dec. 1995, pp. 1 - 4 D:

The Fall Show at the 7th Regiment Armory in New York, Sept. 27 - Oct. 1, was a fund raiser for The Museum of American Folk Art. A corporate sponsor of the show was Country Living magazine. Within seconds of the doors opening, a dealer sold an 1860 horse and rider weather vane attributed to A. L. Jewell & Co., Waltham, MA.

cow weather vane

Large cow weather vane with zinc head by Howard

Traditional "barn yard" animals are very popular with collectors. This vane sold for $110,000.

horse & rider

Horse and rider weather vane signed Howard, Bridgewater, MA

This second horse and rider weather vane sold for $150,000 at the show. It had been bought by a collector at Sotheby's six years ago for $66,000. [Not a bad profit! ed. note] This is the smaller version of the weather vane which sold from the Barenholtz collection for a record $770,000.

This article proves and many authorities will concur that weather vanes are a great investment in American Folk Art. If you are the fortunate owner of a valuable original vane still on top of your building, you should consider replacing it with an American-made replica, and displaying the treasured antique indoors where you can properly secure it and enjoy its craftsmanship at a closer level.

Investing in high quality weather vanes which are currently being crafted by talented American coppersmiths will also prove to be an excellent decision. [ed. note]

"The Final Touch" by Geri Corey, The Independent Republican est. 1812, Wed. August 2, 1995, cover page:

al and quill

The original quill weather vane that sat atop the Town Hall steeple is on the left. Al Denninger, a blacksmith, is holding the exact replica that he made.

al in bucket

Blacksmith Alfred H. Denninger, right, confers with Assistant Fire Chief Steve O'Sullivan before placing the Quill Weather Vane on the steeple of the recently restored Goshen Town Hall.

Denninger Cupolas and Weather Vanes handcrafted an exact replica of the original vane that was once a part of the Town Hall steeple. It's believed that a quill was chosen to adorn the Town Hall to commemorate lexicographer Noah Webster who was the principal and sole teacher from 1782-3 when the building was a two-room schoolhouse, called the Farmers Hall Academy. The original vane is now in the collection of the Museum Village of Orange County.

"He hand-hammered the copper into a mold he created from the original vane's measurements, tooled in the feathering using the repoussé method, soldered the pieces together the same as a 19th century coppersmith would have done, and finished the vane in antique verdigris patina. He then gilded the letters NSEW and the two decorative globes with gold leaf," explained Al's wife, Beth.

Working with Denninger to secure the rod inside the cupola was Brian DeRose of Wawayanda. Dan Farley of the Goshen Fire Dept. was the ground operator of the fire truck. On Saturday, July 22, when Al was raised to the steeple in the bucket of a fire truck and installed his weather vane on top of the Goshen Town Hall, he completed the restorative process of the building which was destroyed by fire in December, 1992. Said Mary Gray-Griffith of Goshen Restoration Unlimited, Inc., the organization behind the project, "The setting of the quill completes the restoration of one of our fine buildings."

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