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French Second Empire

The French Second Empire style was popular in Vermont during the 1870s and 1880s and was modeled after popular French architectural trends of the 19th century. This Victorian era style closely resembles the Italianate style with one additional character defining feature: the mansard roof. A mansard roof has a flat top and encompasses the upper story of the building. Windows are set directly into the steeply sloping, or often flared, sides of the roof. A Second Empire structure always has a mansard roof, making it easily distinguishable from the Italianate style.

A few examples of the Second Empire style are seen below. Many houses in this style feature a centrally located tower, seen in the center image. Although the Italianate style also features towers with mansard roofs, they do not have mansard roofs on the main block of the house, as does the Second Empire structure in the center.

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French Second Empires: Images courtesy of Elizabeth André

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