the picture

swiss chalet

The Fisher House in Cincinnati’s East Walnut Hills neighborhood near the University of Cincinnati campus is a an American Swiss Chalet. “The Swiss Chalet style”, according to the City of Cincinnati Planning and Buildings department, “was never widespread in the United States, [but] appears to have enjoyed some celebrity in Cincinnati. The American version of the style was derived from the Swiss cottage form traditional among Alp-dwellers for hundreds of years. It i[was] publicized by Andrew Jackson Downing in The Architecture of Country Houses (1850), a best-selling stylebook that did much to popularize other romantic styles such as the Gothic Revival.”

Lucien Plympton, the architect who designed the Fisher House, was influential in spreading the style in Cincinnati in the late 19th century. Houses of the Swiss Chalet style, or with elements of the style such as the distinctive roof, can be found in many parts of the city. Cincinnati has a very strong German cultural heritage, which may explain why the Swiss Chalet style found popularity in the city.

The Fisher House was completed in 1892. (If you look to the upper left near the roof line, you can see that the date was incorporated within the elaborate decoration).  It features real half-timbering held together with hand-crafted pegs. It is Plympton’s best known work. To see more photographs of the house (including the interior!) visit Cincinnati’s Architecture and Urban Planning Collection site.

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