Reviewing some delightful pictures that I took last year of our famous "oldest documented church in Arkansas" I found another example of what I had never heard of until a few days ago when I put up a blog about a house in West Point Arkansas that was built in 1883 and had this stuff on the top of the roof which was defined by a reader as cresting.
This oldest church is called Smyrna Church and is located just before Center Hill on Highway 36 West. Suzy Ribeiro defined the trim on roofs in a comment.
The spindly metal trim on rooftops is for... here's your answer... absolutely NOTHING! It's actually called roof CRESTING. It is usually fabricated out of wrought-iron, but, the cresting on this home looks like it is made from thin sheet aluminum or steel. Roof cresting doesn't serve much of a purpose other than to look pretty. Cresting was an architectural hallmark of the Second Empire style, imported from France in the 1860's. It is more common on ornate Victorian and Mansard style residential properties. Many properties lost their original cresting as the material deteriorated, owners removed the cresting instead of upkeeping or restoring it because it was only for decorative purposes. In some regions, lightning rods and snowguards were matched. Even some properties had balconettes or metal window boxes attached for decorative purposes too.
So look at this little church built in 1857 and recently restored by White County Historical Society and the Searcy Art Council.
Now take a look at the close-up of the steeple and see the "cresting."
And going down below the steeple to the entry door we found some more cresting. It all looks the same as the cresting that was on the house in West Point.
I found it very interesting. This history stuff can just go on and on!