$n$ PANORAMA - Era, cash flow, goals play into broad palate for Walla Walla's building toppers

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A less-common variety of composite roofing tops a garage and house on Merriam Street.

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A metal roof reflects afternoon sunlight from the top of a local eatery.

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A wood roof on Birch Street shows a variety of looks achievable with the medium, all atop a single house.

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Walla Walla's houses of worship are a fascinating study in contrast, some with ornate roofing; others with understated tile.

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If you spend a lot of time looking up, you can see interesting patterns and arrangements on the rooftops around town.

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Still others in the area sport vast expanses of modern asphalt shingles that contrast with smaller portions of more costly materials.

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Garage roofs run the gamut from carefully kept up to benevolently neglected.

For someone who has spent time perched on a roof with a shingling hatchet or nail gun in their hand, it might be second nature to check out the tops of buildings while tooling around town.

Besides a chance to assess the relative health of all those roofs, compare the merits of gables and mansards and cringe at the heights and pitches involved, there is also the matter of materials.

Even a simple afternoon's walk in the neighborhoods around the city center turns up a wide variety: ceramic tiles, corrugated steel, concrete tile, wood shakes, wood shingles, beaten gold, copper-tone metal, actual copper, asphalt shingles - all in varying states of age and condition.

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