Volunteer with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust!


Hey Frank Lloyd Wright Fans!  Are you looking to get more involved with your favorite architect? Do you want to be the one to share your love of architecture with fans and tour groups?

You are in luck!  The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust is now accepting volunteers to help spread the love of Frank Lloyd Wright in the Chicagoland area!

You can check out the FLW Volunteer page here! for further information and to apply to serve as a volunteer.

Volunteers can train to serve at the Home and Studio in September 2018 or the Frederick C. Robie House in February 2019.

I have been serving as an Interpreter for the FLW Trust since March 2016 giving tours at the Frederick C. Robie House. The Frederick C. Robie House is currently undergoing restoration and the transformation has been magical to experience and watch! I feel so lucky to have an inside scoop into this special time in history.

In May 2018, I decided to take my volunteer efforts to the next level and volunteered in the Wright Plus Housewalk serving as a House Captain at the Burton F. Hales House in Oak Park. I had such a great time learning about the history and architecture of this house, but the real treat was educating the guests during their tours of this historic mansion.

A little bit more about volunteering for the FLW Trust… According to the FLW Trust website, volunteers will present the FLW world-class museums (houses and sites!) and their historic neighborhoods (Oak Park and Hyde Park) to an international audience and help with special events and education programs.

By donating at least four hours per month to the Trust’s programs (this is super easy to accomplish as there are so many opportunities to volunteer), volunteers share their knowledge and appreciation for architecture, design and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The training program equips its volunteers to serve in a variety of volunteer positions.

Volunteers are provided with continuing education opportunities. They will engage volunteers and deepen their knowledge of history, art and architecture.

Volunteers will join a community of like-minded individuals who cultivate lasting friendships, enjoy earned memberships, social gatherings, group excursions, access to an active online community, and shopping discounts. (Yes! to shopping discounts!)

If you are at all interested in volunteering, I highly encourage you to look into this amazing opportunity!


Auldbrass – Wright’s only Realized Plantation

Location: Yemasee, Beaufort County, South Carolina

Style: Usonian

Year Built: 1938 (Commissioned)

Website: https://openlandtrust.org/

After a full day of volunteering for the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust Wright 150 Housewalk in May 2017, I was very ready for the After Party held at the Home and Studio. While celebrating a successful day of showcasing Wright homes and other historic homes in the Oak Park area while navigating the rainy conditions, I was ready for some relaxation.

At the After Party, I met several Wright enthusiasts. I began a conversation with a gentleman named Greg who told me he was a docent at Auldbrass in South Carolina. I had never heard of Auldbrass, nor had I ever been to South Carolina. (I am Chicago born and raised). Greg showed me photographs he had taken of the Plantation while serving as a docent. I was truly amazed at the beauty of the Main House and land in the Lowcountry. (I also had never heard of the Lowcountry). I then remembered my father telling me that a Sprite lives in South Carolina. To my delight, I discovered this was its home!

After hours speaking with Greg, I was convinced this was a ‘must visit’ Wright sight. To my dismay, Greg told me it is nearly impossible to obtain entry to Auldbrass as it is only open one weekend every two years. Greg went above and beyond by helping me to secure two tickets for the November 2017 weekend. Needless to say, Greg was every bit the Southern gentleman and host.

And now a little history for you. C. Leigh Stevens owned several tracts of land in the Lowcountry called Old Brass. Stevens commissioned Wright to design several buildings on the Plantation. Wright termed the design and location Auldbrass.

Unfortunately, after Stevens’ death and many years of neglect, Auldbrass was in bad shape.

In 1986, the Beaufort County Open Land Trust approached Joel Silver and requested he purchase and help restore Auldbrass. Joel Silver lives on the Plantation with his family and continues to maintain the restored Plantation as well as work with the Beaufort County Open Land Trust to plan and realize the rest of Wright’s design including a guesthouse wing.

The buildings on the Plantation are built with red Cypress on an 80 degree angle. Wright chose this angle based on the Living Oak trees which grow on the property. The Living Oak Trees grow at an 80 degree angle.  The screws are also at an 80 degree angle. Details!

The Auldbrass symbol, which can be see on the main gate and in the clerestory windows of the Main House, is an abstract design from the Yemasee Indians who used to live on the location.

There are also many animals living on the Plantation including horses, a hippo, a pheasant bird of some exotic variety and a lynx!

HINT: Visit Beaufort County Open Land Trust for information on the next November weekend Auldbrass will be open for tours. We opted to purchase tickets for the Southern BBQ held at a neighboring plantation for lunch. This was my first ever real Southern BBQ! It was delicious!

If you try to do a drive by visit for a look of this Plantation, think again. The Main House is set far back on the property. The buildings visible from the road include the stables and guests houses. There is also a fence blocking the view from the road.

Auldbrass is located in between Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. We chose to stay in Charleston, SC. What a beautiful Southern city!  I hope to visit again soon!

I included several photographs I took while enjoying my day at Auldbrass. I hope you have a chance to visit and experience the beauty of this Southern Plantation. Thank you, Joel Silver!




The Sprite I’ve been searching for!


The Main Road to Auldbrass


The Entry to the Main House


Main House


Main House View from Pool Deck


Pool Deck




Sprite in the Garden


Sprite in the Garden


Main House Back Porch


Main House – Living Room


Main House


Midway Garden Reproduction Table and Chairs


Main House Back Sitting Area


Main House Back Porch


Butterfly Adirondack Chairs


Back of Main House – Dining and Kitchen Wing


Guest House


Horses on the Plantation




Swamp turned into a Lake








Aviary and Sprite Shadow

Meyer May (Thank you, Steelcase!)

Location: 450 Madison Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Style: Prairie Style

Year Built: 1908-09

Website: http://meyermayhouse.steelcase.com/

In October 2017, I traveled with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust in the Wright in the Region tour to see the Meyer May House in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It is an approximate 3 hour drive from Chicago.

Like many of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses we know and love, the Meyer May House has it’s own story of heartache.  The house was built for Meyer May and his wife Sofie.  Not long after moving into the house, Sofie passed away. Meyer’s second wife and their two adopted children prompted the May’s to build an addition on the house.  The changes made by the May family can be seen in some of the historic photographs.

Unfortunatley, the Meyer May House also suffered its own state of disrepair for many years before it was saved by Steelcase. Thank you, Steelcase!

Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts can now visit the Meyer May House for FREE!  Tours are offered Sundays from 1–4 PM and Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10 AM–1 PM.  Prior to touring this stunning Prairie Style house, you are treated to a video chronicling the disrepair and restoration courtesy of Steelcase.  If only all of the other FLLW houses had such generous caretakers!


I was allowed to take photographs. I have included several for your enjoyment. I mean, who doesn’t love a cantilever?  I can’t get enough of them!  Also, I love looking at the photos of this house.  They are magical.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

HINT: The Meyer May House sits on a corner lot in the historic neighborhood of Heritage Hills.  This neighborhood is eye candy for the historical home lover.  Do yourself a favor and take a walk around the neighborhood before touring the Meyer May House. It will provide an insight into what it must have been like to grow up in an horizatonal Prairie Style house in a neighborhood boasting tall vertical historical mansions.


Corner View

May Historical Marker


Logan Street View

Madison Street View

View from Corner of Madison and Logan

Living Room

Living Room Stained Art Glass

Living Room Desk

Living Room Gold Mortar Fireplace

Living Room Bookshelf

Living Room Picture Window

Poppy Mural by George Neidecken

Entryway to the Porch

Dining Room Table and Built-in

Dining Room Table Sconce

Master Bedroom

Upstairs looking Down on the Porch

Retractable Hanger System in Hall Closet

Stained Art Glass

Master Bedroom Fireplace

Stained Art Glass in Stairway

Fred B. Jones – The Penwern Estate & it’s infamous Boathouse

Location: Lake Delavan in Wisconsin

Year Built: 1900 (Boathouse) House (1901)

Style: Prairie Style

Website: http://penwern.com/

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust puts on tours throughout the region and appropriately calls these tours Wright in the Region. A friend of mine has a house on Delavan Lake which has provided me the opportunity to glimpse the FLLW houses who make their home on the lake, but I’ve never been up close and personal.  Wright in the Region afforded me the opportunity to visit Penwern this May.

Penwern is a summer getaway built for businessman and bachelor, Fred B. Jones; a “cottage” to escape the grind of the city, to host guests and basically to party. It is hard to believe that such a beautiful home was built to be used as a bachelor pad. I especially love the yellow and green color scheme and romantic arches.

Our tour was given by Mark Hertzberg, a journalist and photographer, who is currently photographing the estate and writing a book about Penwern. The gracious stewards of Penwern allowed us to roam the estate including the main house and boat house. (and take photographs!)  As with most FLLW houses, the photographs do not do it justice.

The house sits on Delavan Lake just west of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The house was built on quite a large bit of property, but today some of the property has been sold off and remaining buildings on the property include the gatehouse, stables, main house and boat house.  We were able to explore the gatehouse, main house and boathouse.  (The house next door is a Prairie style designed house!)

The gatehouse is almost the only building you can see from South Shore Road.  It is much larger inside than it looks from the outside, but that may be because it shares the property with the grand main house. The gatehouse is very bright and airy inside and of course includes roman brick fireplaces.

The main house is built with its attention on Delavan Lake.  Just to get to the main house, you have to follow FLLW’s infamous Pathway of Discovery. As the hill slopes towards the lake, the main house grows in size and splendor.  The entrance to the main house sits under the archway and is somewhat hidden. Again, in true FLLW fashion your attention is on the house, the arches, the lake…it is easy to miss the front door which is much larger than most.

The inside of the main house has two fireplaces, both built with the roman bricks FLLW loved so much. The room that is now being used as the billiards room has a secret room housed behind a bookcase/bar type structure.  I remember touring the Dana-Thomas House as a little girl and thinking how much fun it would be to play hide-and-go-seek in that house, but a secret room?! I can only imagine how much fun children (and adults!) would have with a secret room.

The living room overlooks the outside porch with the view of Delavan Lake framed by the romantic archway.  If I lived here, I would sit on this porch all day, everyday.  I can imagine how serene and peaceful it must be to sink into the porch with the house archway highlighting the beauty of the lake and foliage around you.

The boathouse sits between the land and water. The best view of the boathouse is from the lake. While it is a beauty from land, it is eye candy from the water.  Again, you don’t realize how large the boathouse is because of how grand the main house is, but after setting foot inside the boathouse porch and traversing the boat storage area, this boathouse is the size of some houses!  You don’t see many FLLW arches as the horizontals tend to be the favorite in the Prairie style houses,  so maybe that is why the arches on the boathouse are so breathtaking.  And the colors! Green and yellow. Trees and sun. How perfect of an accent color to highlight the blueness of the lake.

Hint: If you have the opportunity to get on Delavan Lake in a boat, go past the FLLW houses, especially Penwern. Penwern is not open to the public for tours, but is sometimes included in Wright in the Region and through events hosted by Wright in Wisconsin.

Only the Great Lakes start their names with ‘Lake,’ i.e. Lake Michigan. All smaller lake names end their names with ‘Lake,’ i.e. Geneva Lake and Delavan Lake.










Fountain of the Pioneers

SITE: Fountain of the Pioneers in Bronson Park

ADDRESS: 200 S. Rose Street, Kalamazoo, MI

On Friday, I appeared before the Kalamazoo County Court and shared the distinct honor of being sworn in to practice law in the State of Michigan. After the ceremony, I visited Bronson Park, located directly next to the courthouse.

Bronson Park is home to Alfonso Ianelli’s Fountain of the Pioneers. According to an article in mlive, https://www.google.com/amp/amp.mlive.com/v1/articles/19035950/controversial_statue_in_bronso.amp, “The Fountain of Pioneers, designed by Alfonso Iannelli and installed in 1940 in the downtown Kalamazoo park, depicts a settler standing above an Indian in full headdress. Iannelli said in a 1940 statement that the statue is meant to convey “the advance of the pioneers and the generations that follow, showing the movement westward, culminating in the tower-symbol of the pioneer while the Indian is shown in a posture of noble resistance.”” The fountain was intended to depict the history of Kalamazoo.

What is Alfonso Ianelli’s connection to Frank Lloyd Wright? Alfonso Ianelli was the sculptor who designed the Midway Garden sprites for which Frank Lloyd Wright also took credit. 🙃

The fountain looks like it needs some love and care. It was not running so the pool was empty. Because it was empty, I was able to get up close to the statue. I hope Kalamazoo can restore the statue so it can once again spout the water into the pool.

HINT: While in Kalamazoo, visit the FLLW Parkwyn Village in Kalamazoo and The Acres in Galesburg. 

Pope-Leighey House in VA

Name: Pope-Leighey House

Location: 9000 Richmond Highway Alexandria, VA 22309

Year Built: 1940

Style: Usonian

Website: http://www.woodlawnpopeleighey.org/aboutpope-leighey/

I had the opportunity and honor of being sworn into the United States Supreme Court to practice law this past weekend.  I had never visited Washington, D.C. before so in preparation of my visit, I (of course) googled FLLW houses in the area.  The Pope-Leighey House popped up in my search.  Only about 20 miles south of D.C., located in Alexandria, VA, there was no way I could pass up a visit to this house.

With my father and brother in tow, I rented a car and set the address in my phone.  The drive was quite fun for me as I had never before been in Virginia.

The Pope-Leighey House sits on an old plantation, Woodlawn.  Woodlawn was a bonus visit for us. It was gifted by President George Washington to his nephew and step-granddaughter as a wedding present. It sits not too far from GW’s hometown of Mt. Vernon.  This was quite a surprise as I had no idea Woodlawn even existed.

When visiting the site, you can purchase tickets to both Woodlawn and the Pope-Leighey House for a dual tour or a solo tour of either house.  I recommend taking both tours so you can get your fill of architecture.  You can compare and contrast the different styles.

The Pope-Leighey House is a perfect example of FLLW’s Usonian architecture. FLLW’s Usonian architectural style evolved after his famous Prairie style architecture (my favorite).  While the Usonian houses do not have the stained art glass windows found in FLLW’s Prairie style houses, the Usonian houses have their own unique features. The Usonian houses have wood cut-outs instead of stained art glass windows.  Similar to how FLLW designed a stained art glass window unique to each Prairie style house, he designed a wooden cut-out to each Usonian style house. Inside the Pope-Leighey House, the window cut-outs seem to glow with the outside sun.

The Usonian houses have other similarities to the Prairie style houses including clerestory windows and raked-back mortar to accentuate the horizontal lines. FLLW also continues his love of the cantilevers – this time expanding them over parking spaces called car ports.

The Pope-Leighey House is an “L” shaped house.  You can see into one wing of the house from the other wing!  It is small and quaint – the perfect journalist’s retreat for Loren Pope.

According to the Pope-Leighey website, “During the 1930s, Frank Lloyd Wright set his formidable attention towards designing affordable middle-class residences. More than 100 of these modest homes, referred to as Usonian, thought to mean “the United States of North America,” were constructed between 1936 and Wright’s death in 1959, including the Pope-Leighey House (1940). Commissioned in 1939 by Loren Pope, a journalist in Falls Church, VA, the residence was sold to Robert and Marjorie Leighey in 1946. The house was in the path of an expansion of Highway 66, so in an effort to preserve the building, Mrs. Leighey gave the property to the National Trust, which relocated it to nearby Woodlawn and granted her lifetime tenancy. Mrs. Leighey occupied the house at Woodlawn until her death in 1983. Unusually, the house required a second move due to the instability of the clay soil, and was relocated about 30 feet up the hill in 1995-96.”

It’s always fun for me to listen to tour guides at other FLLW sites and guests on the tours. I sometimes forget that the tour guests may not be “Frank-o-philes” or FLLW enthusiasts and do not yet understand the intricacies of FLLW’s architecture.  It puts a smile on my face when they come to the realization of how FLLW was designing and providing his clients with modern amenities before they were considered modern.  It also makes me smile when they ask about the basement or attic!

HINT: Buy your tickets in advance and prepare yourself for the beauty of the landscape as well as the beauty of the historic houses.  Bring water and snacks as there is no food/drink close to the houses.  There is a little gift shop with gifts celebrating both houses.

At the end of the Woodlawn tour, you can see the original blueprints of the Pope-Leighey House. There is correspondence between the owners and FLLW as well as a model and drawing (it is upside down!) in the glass case.



Taliesin West – The Desert Camp

Name: Taliesin West

Year Built:(Started in) 1939

Style: Organic Architecture (Desert Camp Style)

Website: http://franklloydwright.org/taliesin-west/

HINT: Buy your tickets ahead of time, especially if you are visiting in the spring. With spring training in full swing, tours at Taliesin West are very popular. There are also many to choose from. Thus far, I have enjoyed the Night Lights Tour, Insights Tour and Behind the Scenes Tour. If you are a member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, you receive two complimentary tickets for the Insights Tour, just be ready to show your Trust Membership Card.  Wear comfortable walking shoes! and sunscreen! Bring a light jacket for any night time tours. It gets chilly in the desert at night!

I have been fortunate enough to have first visited this magical site for the first time at the age of 12. I remember begging my aunt and uncle to take me while vacationing with them in Scottsdale. To be fair, I didn’t (really) even know Taliesin West existed until my father recommended I visit. (He had not yet visited this FLLW landmark yet and wanted me to experience the desert camp he knew was one of FLLW’s greatest creations). Nonetheless, my begging worked and my aunt took me for a tour. I was equipped with my disposable camera and a very excited attitude.  I still have these photos.

Fast forward 20 years and I made my way back to this desert paradise, this time as an adult equipped with my iPhone camera and my father.  We flew in to Phoenix on Friday night with just enough time to take the last Night Lights Tour. Taliesin West at night is quite enchanting. I absolutely understand why FLLW fell in love with the desert, especially at night. The air is cool, the stars are shining and the sounds are peaceful. On the tour, I tried desperately to take photos, but the lighting was not working with my camera. I decided to enjoy the sites and sounds without the hassle of trying to capture every detail. (I had also already obtained a ticket for the morning Insights tour).

The way FLLW experimented and played with lighting is apparent at this desert camp. We were told he “invented” lots of different lighting that are now used today including pathway lights and recessed lighting, most notably seen in the Kiva. Throughout the desert camp, you can see FLLW’s playfulness with shapes cast from the soft lighting used to guide the residents, and now tourists, through this desert masterpiece.

Outside the Kiva is the fire breathing dragon. We were told it only breathes fire at night so the Night Lights Tour is the only opportunity for most tourists to see this in real time.

The Night Lights Tour takes you outside and inside exploring many of the buildings on the grounds. You are taken inside FLLW’s living quarters and even get to sit on the furniture including the butterfly chairs (my personal favorite).

During the Insights Tour, we covered many of the same spots with the exception of the Theatre that we visited at night. Inside the Theatre is an abstract painting of Midway Gardens, (in my opinion) one of the finest buildings ever created and greatest losses to not only Chicago, but the world. Rumor has it the ruins remain in Lake Michigan where they were used to fill in swamp ground. Maybe one day I will dive and try to find some remains…but I digress.

Speaking of the remains of Midway Gardens, several Sprites were save and now live at Taliesin West! Two of them live outside FLLW’s living quarters and have been painted. (The Sprites are my absolute favorite)!

I took lots of photos during the morning Insights Tour, which I have shared for your viewing pleasure.  Photos are encouraged with the exception of inside the working studio. Taliesin West is the winter home to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and also houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.




A. W. Gridley House

Name: A. W. Gridley House

Location: 605 North Batavia Road, Batavia, Illinois

Year Built: 1906

Style: Prairie Style

Website: http://flwright.org/researchexplore/wrightbuildings/gridleyhouse

After my visit to the P.D. Hoyt House in Geneva, IL, I searched for FLW’s other sites located in the region. Hailing from the south side of Chicago, the (north?)western suburbs of Chicago have always been a mystery to me.  I located the A. W. Gridley House on the map and went on my way. Driving south on Route 31, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but knew what to look for, a Prairie Style house.  Route 31 follows the Fox River so it is easy to be distracted by the beautiful landscape and river views, but no fear, the A. W. Gridley House cannot be missed.

The A. W. Gridley House is located in Batavia, IL, a western suburb of Chicago, just west of the P.D. Hoyt House in Geneva, IL. The A. W. Gridley House was built by FLW in 1906. It was named the “Ravine House” by FLW himself. The house sat on 15 acres with a wildflower ravine on the south side of the property.

The house now sits on a modest lot, but nothing close to the original 15 acres. It sits up on top of a gently sloping hill providing views of the Fox River across the street. I can only imagine the views this house hosted in 1906 when it stood by itself on 15 acres.

HINT: If you are traveling south on Route 31, you may miss the infamous FLW side porch with overhanging eaves due to the less than modest speed limit and distracting river views.  I recommend turning on Timber Trail and parking your car.  There is a sidewalk that runs between the house and Route 31 providing visitors with a guilt free viewing area of the A. W. Gridley House. There is also a historic sign commemorating the house and site, paying tribute to Mrs. Gridley.

The front of the house boasts a beautiful front porch area. I imagine once the doors to the porch are open, the outside floods the inside, as FLW must have intended. The house shape is similar to a crucifix formation which can be found in other FLW Prairie Style house designs.

The Prairie Style house my father designed and built also has a crucifix design formation; I remember him pointing this out to me as a child and not understanding the significance, but now I understand. He was paying tribute to FLW while building his own Prairie Style house.

I tried to find additional information on Mrs. A. W. Gridley, but unfortunately, this information is not as easy to find. From what I gathered, Mrs. A. W. Gridley met FLW through her connection with Mr. P. D. Hoyt. Like most FLW homeowners, Mrs. A. W. Gridley suffered financial difficulties and only lived in the house a short time.

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!