Smethport Mansion District a Sight to Behold

Bradford Era — by Fran De Lancey

Visitors to Smethport often comment about the beautiful Victorian-style homes that line Main Street in the borough’s historic Mansion District.

These ostentatious and decorative homes, which became popular during the reign of British Queen Victoria — 1837 to 1901 — were built for the wealthy to impress and remain impressive today. They are often characterized by asymmetrical exteriors, steps leading to large wrap-around porches and grand entrances, large bay windows and steep roofs, sometimes at different levels.

In the eastern United States, Victorian-era homes tend to be three stories, including the attic, and built on a full-sized basement.

Two of Smethport’s Victorian-era homes are the Rose Mansion at 916 W. Main St. and the John Forrest Mansion at 620 W. Main St. Both are examples of the stick style, a variation of the Victorians, that gained popularity during the mid-19th century and was also used for train and emergency stations. Read more »