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Darwin Martin House

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http://preservationready.org/Buildings/125JewettParkway?action=download&upname=DarwinMartin.jpg
Darwin Martin House
Darwin Martin House

Barton House
Photo credit: Mike Puma ViewsOfBuffalo, Mark Hogan, Anthony James

Location

125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo NY 14214
Northwest corner of Jewett Parkway and Summit Avenue
Delaware Council District
SBL Number: 89.34-3-21
Erie County Property Info
County Tax Map (loads GIS page)
Google Bird's Eye View
City of Buffalo Parcel Viewer

Owner

Martin House Restoration Corporation

Physical Description

Wright designed the complex as an integrated composition of connecting buildings, consisting of the primary building, the Martin House, a long pergola connecting with a conservatory, a carriage house-stable and a smaller residence, the Barton House, which shares the site and was built for George F. Barton and his wife Delta, Darwin Martin's sister. The complex also includes a gardenerís cottage, the last building completed.

Of particular significance are the fifteen distinctive patterns of nearly 400 art glass windows that Wright designed for the entire complex, some of which contain over 750 individual pieces of jewel-like iridescent glass. Walter Burley Griffin landscaped the grounds, which were created as integral to the architectural design. (courtesy Wikipedia)

Current Condition

Fully restored to 1907 condition

History

The Martin House Complex was the home of businessman Darwin D. Martin, an executive at the Larkin Soap Company. Martin was instrumental in selecting Frank Lloyd Wright as the architect for the Larkin Administration Building, Wright's first major commercial project, in 1904 while also designing Martin's home.

Following the loss of the family fortune, due to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Great Depression,and subsequently Darwin Martin's death in 1935, the family abandoned the house in 1937. Martin's son, D.R. Martin, had attempted to donate the house to the city or the university to be used as a library but his offer was rejected. Over the next two decades, it remained vacant, was considerably vandalized, and deteriorated further. Purchased in 1951 by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, with plans to turn the complex into a summer retreat for their priests, it remained empty. The complex was purchased privately in 1955 with the Martin House converted into three apartments, the grounds sub-divided, with the carriage house, conservatory, and pergola demolished, and a pair of apartment buildings constructed in the 1960s. In 1967 the complex was purchased by the University at Buffalo, for use as the University President's residence. The University continued the sub-division with the Barton House sold in 1967 and the Gardener's Cottage soon after. The University attempted restoration of the Martin House, although this consisted mainly of slight modernizations, several pieces of original furniture were located. (courtesy Wikipedia)

Recent Events and Actions Taken

The Martin House Restoration Corporation (MHRC), founded in 1992, set out to restore the complex and open it as a public house museum in its 1907 condition. The restoration began with Buffalo architects Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects (HHL) hired to restore the roof of the Martin House. The Gardener's Cottage was purchased in 2006, and the demolished carriage house, conservatory, and pergola were reconstructed and completed in 2007.

This is the first time that a demolished Wright structure has been rebuilt in the United States.

The Eleanor & Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion Visitor Center, designed by Toshiko Mori, opened March 12, 2009. (courtesy Wikipedia)

Other Pertinent Facts

  • The complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and then became a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

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Added 2013-11-26 • Last changed 2016-10-29