single section of original and intact late 19th century american victorian era ornamental cast iron salvaged chicago residential roof cresting or "widow's walk" designed and fabricated by or for the f.p. smith wire & iron works, chicago, ills. the nicely worn and weathered ironwork once adorned a late 19th century chicago graystone undergoing demolition. multiple sections of the interlocking cresting are available for purchase. the footings and screw holes are intact. the repeating design motif is consistent with the period. the name comes from the wives of mariners, who would watch for their spouses' return, often in vain as the ocean took the lives of the mariners, leaving the women as widows. however, there is little or no evidence that widow's walks were intended or regularly used for this purpose. widow's walks are in fact a standard decorative feature of italianate architecture, which was very popular during the height of the age of sail in many north american coastal communities. the widow's walk is a variation of the italinate cupola. the italianate cupola, also known as a "belvedere", was an important ornate finish to this style, although it was often high maintenance and prone to leaks. beyond their use as viewing platforms, they are frequently built around the chimney of the residence, thus creating an easy access route to the structure. this allows the residents of the home to pour sand down burning chimneys in the event of a chimney fire in the hope of preventing the house from burning down. priced per section (as depicted in the images). measures 24 x 21 1/2 inches.