How Quirky is Berkeley? Weathervanes as quirky material culture

1736 Rose St. Photo: John Storey

Although there is nothing uniquely Berkeleyesque about weathervanes, I find them quirky. Yes, perhaps quirky in a staid way, but quirky all the same. Weathervanes served a purpose in agricultural or sailing communities, but today they are largely decorative. The rooster or cockerel is the most prevalent design, so I present here examples that are not roosters, except for the beauty on Rose Street pictured above.

My favorite is probably this allusion to “Fiddler on the Roof.”

168 Southampton St. Photo: John Storey

Others that caught my eye as I walked the streets of Berkeley follow:

1903 Curtis St. Photo: Tom Dalzell
916 Euclid Ave. Photo: John Storey

I can’t be sure, but this looks to me for all the world like Nellybelle, the jeep featured in the “Roy Rogers” television show.


374 Vassar St. Photo: John Storey
635 Santa Rosa St. Photo: John Storey
825 Marin Ave. Photo: John Storey
2239 Dwight Way. Photo: John Storey
972 Euclid Ave. Photo: John Storey

Although most of the weathervanes shown are in fact functional, their mission is decorative. They exist to please and amuse people passing by. For this, they have earned a place in our universe of quirky material culture.

Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,000 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means.

For a fuller and more idiosyncratic version of this post, see Quirky Berkeley.