From the middle to the end of the nineteenth century, the landscape of American domestic architecture was a kaleidoscope of revivals of European historic styles. Gothic Revival, Italianate, Tuscan Villa, Second Empire, Queen Anne, and even Egyptian Revival houses were being built around the country. Out of this cacophony a new, uniquely American style emerged: the Shingle Style.
If any architectural style defines the Victorian era it is the Queen Anne style, so much so that we often refer to Queen Anne style houses as Victorian. However, the term Victorian refers not to a particular style but to the era of the reign (1837-1901) of Great Britain’s Queen Victoria.
The term Second Empire refers to the period in France from 1852-1870 when Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon I, reestablished imperial rule by a coup d’etat, thereby ending the Second Republic of 1848-1852. In an ambitious building campaign, Napoleon III appointed Baron Haussmann to oversee a vast program of work including modernization, improvements to living conditions in the revolution-breeding slums through demolition and rebuilding, and turning Paris into an imperial capital replete with magnificent buildings housing new institutions.