Name: Darwin Martin House
Location: 125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14214
Year Built: 1903-1905
Style: Prairie Style
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!