Some new neighbors who are restoring a Folk Victorian down the street came over to tour the house on Sunday, and they had a lot of ideas about it. The newel post thing was something they suggested when they saw ours, which does have a cap-looking thing nailed on top. I think they saw something about it on TV, either This Old House or If Walls Could Talk.
Though I doubt our luck is good enough to find blueprints inside, I still think it's worth prying off the cap and taking a look.
Has anyone heard of this or found anything like that?