Mansard Monday in Dover, NH. 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.
Second Empire buildings are essential Italianate in style from the eave line down, but their roof gives them a different identity. The style was used for everything from small wood-framed houses like this to grand towered mansions and public buildings in brick and stone.
Many Mansard roofs are clad in slate shingles, sometimes arranged into patterns in several colors. Wood shingle was also used, either square cut as here or sometimes shaped and painted or stained in several colors.
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.” Homes from more than 22 states are included.
Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available from the author in our online shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.
Our shop also carries select preservation and restoration titles by other authors, including the classic “A Field Guide to American Houses” by Virginia McAlester. Save on cost and shipping with our multi-book combo packs!
© Scott T. Hanson 2023
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