Terrace Hill

Also known as: Allen, benjamin F., House; Hubbell, Frederick M., House; Iowa Governor's Mansion
2300 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa



Designed by one of Chicago's most important 19th century architects, William W. Boyington, Terrace Hill stood out as an immense undertaking in both scale and finish when it was constructed between 1866 and 1868. Terrace Hill is an exceptional example of the French Second Empire Style. Unlike the revivalist Gothic or Renaissance styles, the Second Empire was considered a "modern style." In urban settings, its chief feature, the mansard roof, allowed the enlargement of confined attics into habitable spaces with a resulting verticality for many of the designs. Use of this style for domestic architecture became stylish by the mid-1850s in America, with examples built into the 1880s in various parts of the country. Today, Terrace Hill represents a pure, minimally altered, Second Empire building constructed for domestic use at the height of the style in the United States. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, July 31, 2003

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 31, 2003
Reference number
Architectural style
Victorian: Second Empire
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Single dwelling
Current functions
Museum; Single dwelling
Periods of significance
1850-1874; 1875-1899; 1925-1949; 1900-1924
Significant years
1868; 1884; 1924
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2
Non-contributing buildings: 2
Non-contributing structures: 1