The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 created the National Register of Historic Places. The Darwin D. Martin House Complex has been on this list since 1975. The Martin House was named a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1986.
The Martin House Complex is a prime example of a Prairie house, a revolutionary design developed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the first decade of the 20th century. The Prairie house style is characterized by rectilinear, horizontally-oriented structures linked by crossing axes and "woven" into their site. The Martin House complex was designed in this fashion, allowing clear, linear vistas throughout the various buildings and surrounding landscape.
Other characteristics of the Prairie House style include:
low, hip roofs with broadly cantilevered eaves
prominent foundations that anchor the house to the site
horizontal emphasis in masonry, sills, copings, and garden walls
horizontal bands of windows (usually with art glass)
intentionally concealed entrances and sheltered spaces
For a period of some 22 years—from 1927 to 1949—a critical mass of Wright-designed structures stood in and around Buffalo. This concentration of Wrightian buildings was the second largest in the nation, after that of the Chicago area. These buildings included:
The Martin House Complex:
George Barton House (1903-04), extant
Darwin D. Martin House (1904-05), extant
Martin House pergola...demolished, 1962; reconstructed, 2004-07
Martin House conservatory...demolished, 1962; reconstructed, 2004-07
Martin House carriage house...demolished, 1962; reconstructed, 2004-07
Martin House gardener's cottage (1909), extant
Larkin Administration Building (1904-06), demolished 1949-50
Funding for the Martin House restoration project has come from a nearly even split between public and private sources: federal, state and local governments, various foundations, corporations, and numerous private donors at all levels.