Germantown, Montgomery County, Ohio

I drove into Germantown, Ohio from the east, and was greeted by a row of beautifully restored houses from the Nineteenth through early Twentieth Centuries

Orangish-red brick was used to build Italianate style houses along the main road into town.

Many houses have been restored, and its proximity to major Ohio cities (it’s actually in the Dayton metropolitan statistical area) makes the town a desirable place to live.

But the downtown is the really amazing place to see. Many of the commercial buildings are obviously extremely old, and could easily date back to before the Civil War.

Not surprisingly, the town was settled by Germans, and its founder Philip Guncke laid out its original street grid. There are many wood frame houses in the Greek Revival style, and you can see the switch over to brick.

But what I really love are those weird local vernacular styles, such as this Italianate style commercial building with Gothic Revival pointed arch windows on the top floor. Other small towns in the area also had this peculiar, idiosyncratic detail.

It’s part of an intact street wall of mostly Second Empire buildings.

Nearby, this commercial building has small windows on the third floor, and what was obviously a large public space on the second floor.

This bank building below is tricky–is it historic and heavily sandblasted, or is it new? I didn’t have a chance to look closely enough to determine.

The Florentine Hotel is obviously a landmark in the town; founded by town father Gunckel and still in business as a restaurant, it lays claim to being the second oldest inn in Ohio.

More spectacular architecture lies on the west side of town.

This large house sits just a little bit outside of town, and surely was built and owned by a prominent landowner or banker. It’s a spectacular expression of the Italianate moving on into more mature styles after the Civil War.

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