Rickety Chimney Contest

From my front window, I can see a charming, red brick chimney.

This slightly rickety chimney often reminds me of an illustration from one of my favorite books, “The Sailor Dog,” by Margaret Wise Brown. In the story, Scuppers (“born at sea in the teeth of a gale”) becomes shipwrecked and builds himself a cozy little shack.

Garth Williams illustration, "The Sailor Dog" by Margaret Wise Brown (Random House)

We all have our fantasies and one of mine is to live in a little shack like that.

With this humble chimney in mind, I launched a Rickety Chimney Contest. Any chimney in southeast Minneapolis would be eligible. With all of the old houses and buildings around here, I figured most of the chimneys would be rickety.

I prowled through the Marcy Holmes, Como, and Prospect Park neighborhoods and wandered through the University of Minnesota campus. One day I drove so slowly down a residential street — craning my neck — that a mail carrier took note. He probably he even wrote down my license plate.

I found some surprising things, and was forced to launch several contests and name several winners, and here they are.

Most Elegant Chimneys

Chimneys With The Best Backgrounds

Chimney With The Best Foreground

Coolest Stone Chimneys

Most Organic Chimney

Least Commanding Chimney

Least Expected Chimney FeatureThis is a chimney cowl. I had never heard of chimney cowls before I launched my Chimney Contests. Cowls supposedly keep the wind from blowing back down a chimney. They also help keep birds and squirrels from nesting inside. And speaking of critters…

Most Coveted ChimneyI did find some old, picturesque chimneys, and in my mind, they are all winners. But feel free to let me know, chimney lovers, if you have a favorite.

Best Rickety Chimneys

That’s it for my Chimney Contests. It was fun, but now I’m cursed. I can’t drive past a house or building without checking for chimneys. I leave you with a final image from “The Sailor Dog.”

Garth Williams illustration from "The Sailor Dog" by Margaret Wise Brown (Random House)

“The Sailor Dog” images courtesy of Random House.

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5 Responses to Rickety Chimney Contest

  1. Anna says:

    I can’t help but notice that there is no smoke coming out of any of these. That’s what I like seeing–the smoke. It reminds me of Santa’s workshop or something.

  2. Lisa says:

    Thanks, all, for your comments. So interesting.

    I’m a chimney aficionado now. But if we all go solar, maybe chimneys will become historical relics. When I Googled (googled?) Folwell Hall (one of the elegant chimneys), I learned that many of its chimneys were ‘mock chimneys.’ Maybe someday all of our chimneys will be mock.

  3. David says:

    The only place I’ve seen something like the chimney cowl in your photo was in Alberobello, Italy, home of the trullo houses: their chimneys are often decorated with cut-outs, I believe in order to ward off evil spirits.

  4. Vicky says:

    Oh, that was fun! Thanks.

  5. Betsy says:

    Love your photos. This one is out of your search area; but, if you are back in our old neighborhood, take a look at the corkscrew chimney on the green house next to ours. The owner is a corkscrew collector and had this chimney built to replace a very rickety one.