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Erie, PA Second Empire

Mansard Monday in Erie, PA.

The defining feature of a Second Empire style building is the Mansard roof. Typically called a French roof in the U.S. during the 19th century, it was popular during a period when all things French (including the language) were “en vogue” for fashionable middle and upper class Americans.

From the eave line down, Second Empire buildings are essential Italianate in style, but their roof gives them a different identity. Many Mansard roofs are clad in slate shingles, sometimes arranged into patterns in several colors. Wood shingle was also used, often shaped and painted or stained in several colors.

This house has recently restored octagonal patterned slate with well-detailed copper flashing. Fortunately there are still craftspeople capable of doing this work in most areas where such roofing is common.

Second Empire is one of 25 styles and types described and illustrated in Chapter 2 of “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners” with other examples of the style spread across the USA.

Homes from more than 22 states are included in the 720 page award-winning and best-selling hardcover book, available in bookstores nationwide and from online retailers.

Signed and personalized copies are only available in our shop, https://yourhistorichouse.com/shop/.

The classic book on historic house styles, “A Field Guide to American Houses” by Virginia McAlester, is also available in our shop.

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