P.D. Hoyt House in Geneva, IL

Name: P.D. Hoyt House

Location: 1511 South Batavia Avenue, Geneva, IL

Year Built: 1906

Style: Prairie Style

Website(s): http://franklloydwrightsites.com/illinois/geneva/hoyt.html


After attending a hearing at the Kane County Courthouse in Geneva, IL, I took the opportunity to meander down the streets of old historic homes to locate the P.D. Hoyt House.  This Prairie Style house designed by FLW is quite the find amongst the other historic homes and is nestled back behind a wall making it easy to miss.

According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, “this Wright design features a two story, square floor plan with a central broad chimney, a low-pitched hip roof with broad, overhanging eaves and a matching hip roof above the entry which was replaced with a Japanese-influenced trellis in the 1980s, due to the addition of a tall privacy wall in front of the house.  Difficult to see, due to an abundance of landscaping and the high walls, is the “H” design in the windows (shown in photo below).” See: P.D. Hoyt House

My travels took me to the P.D. Hoyt House in February 2017 so there was not much foliage to contend with; my biggest hurdle was the mayoral sign out front. Due to the high wall, I was able to capture images of the house from the front and sides, but not the back. According to my research, the P.D. Hoyt House caught fire on August 3, 2012, but was luckily contained to the first floor with smoke damage throughout the house. See: http://patch.com/illinois/geneva/flames-erupt-in-fifth-street-geneva-home-early-friday.

Despite the dull February winter day, the P.D. Hoyt House shines as a beautiful example of FLW’s Prairie Style design. It continues to bring me hope that I will one day be able to live and tend for a FLW Prairie Style designed house.



The Darwin Martin House

Name: Darwin Martin House

Location: 125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14214

Year Built: 1903-1905

Style: Prairie Style

Website: http://www.darwinmartinhouse.org

Wow. Wow. Wow. The Darwin Martin House will take your breath away. Situated in a quiet, picturesque neighborhood of Buffalo, NY, the Darwin Martin House sits on a corner expanding over several city lots. The Darwin Martin House is actually more of a complex. It’s original design included five buildings and according to the Darwin Martin House website, totaled 29,080 square feet. This house/complex is exemplary of what money can build in 1903-1905. An eagle’s eye view is the only way to truly understand the expansiveness of this complex. Check out the Wright-Up Blog which showcases a sketch of the complex from above.

FLLW was commissioned to build this house after Darwin Martin visited a house FLLW had designed for his brother in the Oak Park neighborhood in Illinois. Darwin Martin was a wealthy businessman making his fortune selling soap at the Larkin Soap Company. More info on the Larkin Soap Company can be found here Larkin Soap Company History.

Like most FLLW houses, the Darwin Martin House suffered its share of destruction and misfortune. Like many wealthy businessmen, Darwin lost his fortune in the stock market crash. During a tour of the house, I remember our guide telling us that the house was abandoned and looted during Buffalo’s turbulent history. Luckily, in the 1990s, a massive restoration project began and is still ongoing.

The complex boasts the main Martin House, where the family lived. It includes a pergola that connects it to a conservatory and carriage house complete with chauffeur’s quarters and stables. It also connects the main house to the Barton House, which is a smaller residence built for Darwin Martin’s sister and brother-in-law.  In the back sits a gardener’s cottage added in 1909.  When touring the complex, we were able to visit each of these sites. You can rent both the Barton House and gardener’s cottage!

A tour through the Darwin Martin House is akin to taking a trip back in time. It also provides insight into FLLW’s genius. If this is what he could design and build in 1903-1905 with an unlimited budget and creativity, you can only imagine what is to come from him in his later career. Who doesn’t need a bird house on their roof?

The Darwin Martin House is also known for its art glass windows. The design FLLW commissioned for this house is the Tree of Life. Just one light screen contains more than 750 individual panes of glass.

Below are some of the photos I took during my tour, but check out the Darwin Martin House website for a virtual tour inside the complex!