August Nasse was a grocer and dry goods store owner, first with Bernard Goldschmidt, and then when the latter left the firm, he continued on with Conrad Fink. From the late 1860s, they were located on South Second, near many German businesses, before moving to North Fourth Street. Surviving the Great Fire, the business bounced back, and his wealth allowed him to build this spectacular German-influenced mansion. Originally, there was a Second Empire mansion owned by Peter Behr on the lot by 1876, according to Compton and Dry.
It looks like it would be at home in Compton Heights, but it is on Lafayette Avenue, just two doors down from the German House (there was a house in between at one point, but it has been demolished, but its carriage house on the alley survives). City records give its construction as 1882, but that is really early for the this mixture of Romanesque and Renaissance Revival architecture that businessmen such as Nasse were building more in the 1890s.
Perhaps the ornament is more Northern Renaissance Revival, while the massing of the building is more in keeping with the Romanesque Revival.
One of the great details is the fleur-de-lis terracotta details just below the cornice.
The giant cartouche with the swags in between the windows on the second story of the tower also illustrates the classical elements of the ornament.
Pink granite columns from down south complete the front porch.