Historic Franklin Preservation Association
Preserving the Architectural Heritage of Franklin, Pennsylvania
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Second Empire - 421 12th Street Franklin Public Library

Our magnificent Public Library is an architectural highlight in Franklin. This wonderful Second Empire building is a large red brick box dominated by a heavily decorated concave Mansard roof with centered wings, wall dormers, on each side. Large arched windows with ornate hoods almost cover the steep sides of the roof, punctuated by tall symmetrical brick chimneys.

The very wide cornice is supported by large modillions and ornamented with small dentils below. Green shutters flank tall double hung windows with decorative head moldings in the symmetrical design. Elaborately carved porch columns support the entrance portico.

The library is enhanced by its setting surrounded by mature trees and plantings.

This highly ornate building, remodeled in the early 1860’s, was originally a much simpler one. It is pictured in that form in the 1865 Atlas of the Oil Regions and was the home of Judge Alexander McCalmont.

Second Empire - The style named after the French Second Empire of Napolean III, but referring to the grand eclectic architecture in the USA in the 1860 and 1870s, primarily public buildings. Its characteristic feature is the high Mansard roof, for which it is also called Mansard style.

mansard roof - a roof having a double slope on all four sides, the lower slope being much steeper.

cornice - An ornamental molding at the meeting of a roof or ceiling and the wall.

modillions - Ornamental blocks used in series under a cornice.