A Touch of French in the West End: 1106 Dayton Street, Cincinnati

Recessed entrances above grade with several steps leading to them are typical of the Second Empire architectural style.

1106 Dayton Street, Cincinnati, Ohio is the rowhouse on the left; 1104 Dayton Street is shown on the right.

Our listing at 1106 Dayton Street, Cincinnati, Ohio (MLS #1660355), is an outstanding example of a Second Empire rowhouse. The limestone front creates a sense of grandeur, timelessness and durability. Its tall, paired windows with ornate hoods draw the eye upward, to be pleasantly rewarded by the well-designed and aesthetically pleasing lines of the mansard roof. There is no doubt where the entrance is located, poised to welcome visitors up and above the street’s every day activities as they ascend the front steps.

As the name implies, the Second Empire architectural style, also called the French Second Empire style or mansard style, began in France during the reign of Napoleon III, 1852-1870. Napoleon III had much of Paris rebuilt with wide avenues and monumental buildings. Earlier medieval alleys and structures were replaced—another example of the constant push and pull to modernize historic buildings and communities no matter what the year.

Napoleon III (Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, 1808 – 1873)

Paris’ reconstruction had a big impact on building design and the Second Empire architectural style was soon imitated throughout Europe and the United States.

François Mansart (1598 – 1666)

The Second Empire style is most known for its mansard roof, popularized earlier by the French architect, Francois Mansart (1598 – 1666). During the Baroque period (1600 – 1750), Mansart used this eye-catching roof type extensively in many of his grand chateau and townhome designs. It’s a perfect blend of classic elegance with the benefit of having more livable space in the uppermost floors of homes.

Under their distinctive roofs, Second Empire homes have much in common with other Victorian-era styles. In particular, the style is very similar to Italianate in its use of overhanging eaves with decorative brackets, and ornate door and window hoods.

Dayton Street Historic District

Streetscape, Dayton Street Historic District

Built in 1895, 1106 Dayton Street is within the Dayton Street Historic District, located in the old West End neighborhood of Cincinnati. In the late 19th century, the neighbhorhood was ‘The Place to Be’ for the wealthy beer brewers and pork packers of Cincinnati. The majority of buildings were constructed between 1850 and 1890, and are generally masonry, two- or three-story Italianate style homes. Low decorative iron fences and stone posts add to the neigbhorhood’s historical feel. The Dayton Street Historic District has both a local designation and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (listed January 25, 1973; No. 3001457).

Architecturally, 1106 Dayton Street brings something a little special to the overall historic feeling and setting found when you stroll through the Dayton Street Historic District. Son bon d’avoir un peu français autour, n’est pas?