MissPres Architectural Word of the Week: Onion Dome

Time for another MissPres Architectural Word of the Week. As we move right along through the alphabet, you can check out our past words here. Have you been keeping an eye out for these elements like I have? This week’s word is pretty tasty! While the MDAH Historic Resources Database has some great photos of these two buildings I also had to visit the Library of Congress HABS/HAER survey for another great photo.

This week’s word is brought to you by the letter O for “Onion Dome” as defined by Cyril M. Harris’s Dictionary of Architecture and Construction

Onion Dome: (ˈən-yən ˈdōm ) …a bulbous dome which terminates in a point and serves as a roof structure over a cupola or tower.

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James Butters HABS photo of Longwood is one of the images I picture in my mind when I think of “Mississippi” so I had to include it. These are the two examples of an Onion Dome I know of. I am sure there is another lurking some where in the state. If you can think of where one is, or where one used to be let us know. So as always keep your eyes out for a Onion Dome(s) this week, along with all our past Miss Pres Architectural Words of the Week!

Categories: Books, Cool Old Places, Historic Preservation, Natchez, Port Gibson

10 replies

  1. In my travels in both areas have enjoyed seeing them both. Thank you for sharing.


    • I am glad to have the opportunity to share! Both buildings are on the MissPres 101 Places to see. If you have seen them both are farther along on the list than I am. While Ive been to Longwood & Natchez several times, I have never had the opportunity to visit Temple Gemiluth Chassed or Port Gibson.


  2. The old Baptist church in Rodney has an onion dome as well. When I was there in June, she didn’t look so good……the flooding from last year really did a number on the interior. Hopefully it can be restored again, it is so sad to see it (and the rest of Rodney) in such a state.
    Also, the bell tower on the brick Presbyterian church is leaning back towards the sanctuary at about a 15 degree angle. It won’t last much longer. I hate to think of the structural damage to that beautiful old church when that tower collapses………..


  3. The key word of course is “bulbous” or shaped like a bulb an example of which is an onion. The shape is characterised by a circle on the outside of the horizontal cross-section and a somewhat S-shaped curve on the outside of the vertical cross-section. An S-curve is sometimes called a reverse curve.


  4. And the top ending in a point like the new growth coming out of an onion bulb.


  5. But if you cut them, do they make you cry?


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