French Victorian style

Second Empire style in the United States

Second Empire style
A grand, eclectic architectural style from about 1855 to 1890 and beyond, primarily in public buildings but also in domestic architecture; named after the French Second Empire of Napoleon III (1852–1870); frequently called Mansard style because it features a mansard roof usually having the profile of a compound curve. Buildings in this style usually are characterized by the following attributes: a central one-story pavilion projecting outward from a façade; classical pediments with elaborate heavy detailing and trim; often, a heavy cornice, typically supported by decorative brackets; commonly, a square tower located at the center of the façade; pedimented dormers; terneplate or multicolored slates forming decorative patterns covering the roof; a curb or railing around the roof, commonly enclosed with decorative metalwork cresting; windows having an upper sash divided in two parts by a vertical secondary framing member, over a similar lower sash; pedimented, bracketed, or hooded windows usually having square or arched heads; tall, almost floor-to-ceiling windows on the first floor; a pair of paneled entry doors having glass in the upper panels; frequently, arched doorways; usually, steps leading from the street up to the level of the doorway. Also called General Grant style or Second Empire Baroque.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.