On a cliff sixty-five feet above Lake Erie is Martin House Complex, revealing an expansive view of the Lake and Canada. It is considered one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most significant house designs of the 1920’s.
Martin House Complex is a unique grouping of the main Martin House, a smaller Barton House, with carriage house including stables, chauffeur’s quarters, a gardener’s cottage, and a glass-roofed conservatory. Martin House Complex resides in a Buffalo NY neighborhood at 125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY. It is walking distance east of Delaware Park’s Buffalo Zoo.
The Basic Tour lasting 1 hour starts with an exterior inspection of the Martin House Complex. The first floor of Martin House is toured, the pergola, conservatory, and carriage house. The tour ends at the museum shop. The Basic Tour has a cost of $15 for adults with reduced rates for seniors and children.
The 2-hour In-depth Tour begins with the basic tour. Then it explores the second floor of the Martin House, and first and second floor of the Barton House. The In-depth Tour costs $30 for adults with reduced rates for seniors and children. Due to the amount of stair climbing both tours are not wheelchair accessible. Reservations should be made in advance with limited space for each tour available.
This complex was initiated after a special relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and Darwin D. Martin. Darwin was a financial patron to Wright for many years, supporting during financial difficulty.
Darwin D. Martin (1865–1935) was a businessman with wife Isabelle and brother, William E. Martin, as co-owners of the E-Z Polish Company of Chicago. Darwin D. Martin’s life is an inspiring ‘rags to riches’ story. With a difficult childhood, the youngest of five children and death of his mother when he was six.
The siblings were separated except himself and his brother William. The two Martin brothers traveled to New York City, where Darwin was hired to sell for Larkin Soap Company. He worked industriously 361 days yearly. His efforts made the company successful, rivaling Sears Roebuck and Co. He filled the opening of an important executive upon retirement.
Additional examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s exceptional designs are in the Buffalo area. Greycliff Estate is at 6472 Old Lake Shore Road in Derby, Blue Sky Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1411 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, and Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum at 263 Michigan Ave. , Buffalo.
Martin House Complex is a 70 minute drive of 72 miles from Rochester NY. Drive I-90 west from Rochester to Buffalo, US 190 west and route 33 north to route 198 west. After Parkside exit follow signs to Buffalo Zoo, parking in Zoo parking lot. It’s a short walk from the Zoo to Martin House Complex. Walk 1 ½ blocks up Jewell Parkway following signs to the tour meeting point at Greatbatch Pavilion.
Here is an attendee’s impression of the tour
“This FLW-designed home is definitely worth seeing and the setting is wonderful.”