Landmark Society of Homer NY

Architectural Styles

French Second Empire or Mansard Style 1860-1900

Stoddard House
Originally a Federal style home, 81 South Main Street was renovated in the 1880s in the Second Empire style.

Andrew Dickson White, the first president and co-founder of Cornell University, was born in this house in 1832.

Second Empire refers to the reign of Napoleon III (1852-1870), who is responsible for the major building campaign that transformed Paris into a city of wide boulevards and magnificent buildings. The Opera House and the Louvre are two of his accomplishments. The roof on the Louvre is one developed by the 17th century French Renaissance architect Francois Mansart – hence the Mansard name.

The Mansard Roof, usually dormered for light, increased head room in the attic space and provided an additional usable floor. Mansard roofs were often used with Italianate architecture as the two shared many details and, for that reason, are often confused with each other.

Further complicating identification of period and style, it was popular to add Mansard roofs to existing buildings because of the ease and economy with which it could add living space without changing the structure or its footprint.

Second Empire style also features hooded windows, balustrades, quoins, cornices, bracketed eaves and pedimented dormers. Tall bay windows, sometimes topped with a tower, and recessed doors are other notable features of this style. It may also have cast iron crests atop the roof, which was generally slate, often in multiple colors and shapes.