To cupola, or not to cupola?

Schoolhouse with cupola, Sonoma County, CA
Schoolhouse with cupola, Sonoma County, CA

Now that we own a schoolhouse, we make detours to see others, and so far all the ones we’ve seen have cupolas. We’ve been thinking that when we re-do the roof on this one, we’ll add a cupola – we even found directions on how to make one online, and bought the louvered door that is the key ingredient at a salvage yard.

Last week our neighbor gave us a copy of a photo showing the schoolhouse in 1923 – no cupola.

I am now impaled upon the horns of a dilemma. Our whole goal with the Schoolhouse has been to take it back toward its origins – tear off the falling apart back porch, remove the walls that had divided it over the years, give it back its cupola. But, I can’t help thinking – if it never had a cupola (even if it was the only one room schoolhouse in Northern California that didn’t) – isn’t putting a cupola on it kind of fakey?

Schoolhouse in Lewiston, CA, with cupola, painted red with white trim
Schoolhouse with cupola - Lewiston, CA

I raised this with our friend Mikey, who has bought and sold more properties in his life than I ever will. He laughed. “It’s not about authenticity, it’s about BRANDING.” Mikey is firmly pro-cupola. I still can’t decide.

Schoolhouse near Half Moon Bay, CA, with cupola, painted cream with green trim
Schoolhouse, near Half Moon Bay, CA

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