“Rivercroft Farm,” a Second Empire farmstead in Fryeburg, Maine.
This wonderful Second Empire style house is a beautifully maintained rural example built in 1873. It replaced a Federal style house on this farm which was moved to another location. The same family has farmed this property for seven generations and continues on today.
Built from Maine to California, the Second Empire style is identified primarily by its Mansard roof and shares many features with the Italianate style. The roof form was typically called a French roof in the 19th century. You can think of Second Empire as an Italianate house wearing a fancy French hat. This house’s diamond-patterned wood shingle roof is a rare survivor that has been replaced in-kind when needed, retaining its original character.
Understanding your house’s character-defining features will give you the information you need to prioritize the preservation of the most important features while making changes necessary for modern life in an old house.
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.”
Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available from the author at YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/ and through the shop on this page.
Our shop also carries select preservation and restoration titles, including Virginia McAlester’s classic “A Field Guide to American Houses.” Save on cost and shipping with our multi-book combo packs!
© Scott T. Hanson 2023
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