Federal houses are square or rectangular in plan, two to three stories high, and constructed of brick or wood. Front facades (faces of houses) of high style examples are usually symmetrical. Doors may have sidelights, and a fanlight over the door is a common detail. Simplest examples have flat facades with few or no projections. A portico (columned porch) composed of an entablature (decorative horizontal band) supported by slender columns is a feature of higher style houses. Windows-are double-hung (two sashes that slide up and down), with six panes in each sash. Roofs are low-pitched hip or gable.


The Federal Style was the first architectural style in the United States after the Revolutionary War. The style started in the East in the late 18th century and had reached Cincinnati by 1815. Many of the best examples of the Federal style were downtown, near the river and along the waterfront, but have been torn down and replaced with commercial buildings as the city has grown. Most of the Federal houses that remain are in Over-the-Rhine, the East End, and other parts of the basin. The best example of the style in Cincinnati is the Taft Museum, formerly the Martin Baum House, built in 1820, and now the focal point of downtown’s Lytle Park.