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

Above grade, recessed entrances 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.

Without a doubt, the rowhouse at 1106 Dayton Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, shows off the grandeur of the Second Empire architectural style.

Firstly, the limestone facade evokes both elegance and durability. Secondly, tall windows with ornate hoods draw the eyes upward. Thirdly, a well-designed mansard roof rewards the viewer with its aesthetics.

And lastly, there is no doubt where the entrance is located. It sits prominently poised, welcoming visitors up and above the street’s every day activities.

Second Empire Style

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.

During his reign, Napoleon III had much of Paris rebuilt. Wide avenues and monumental buildings replaced earlier medieval alleys and structures…Yet another example of the constant push and pull to modernize historic communities no matter what the year!

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

Paris’ reconstruction impacted building design throughout Europe and the United States and the Second Empire style was quickly imitated.

François Mansart (1598 – 1666)

The style is best 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 for many of his grand chateau and townhome designs. It’s a perfect blend of classic elegance and more livable space in the upper 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 close to Italianate with its overhanging eaves, decorative brackets, and ornate door and window hoods.

Dayton Street Historic District

Streetscape, Dayton Street Historic District

A Touch of French

Built in 1895, 1106 Dayton Street is within the Dayton Street Historic District, and part of Cincinnati’s West End.

In the late 19th century, Cincinnati’s wealthy beer brewers and pork packers considered the West End as ‘The Place to Be’.

The West End remains a cohesive built environment. The majority of the buildings there were built between 1850 and 1890. Most are masonry, two- or three-story Italianates. Delightful low decorative iron fences and stone posts add to the neigbhorhood’s historical setting.

The Dayton Street Historic District–historically called “Millionaires Row”–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–with its fine limestone façade–brings something a little special to the historic feeling you get when you stroll through the district. Son bon d’avoir un peu français autour, n’est pas?