Skip to main content

The Martin House Restoration Corporation (MHRC) announced today that Delaware North Companies and the Jacobs Family
have donated $250,000 to the Martin House restoration project.

Delaware North has been a longtime supporter of the Darwin D. Martin House, and this announcement reflects the company’s commitment to supporting and ensuring completion of the house’s restoration. In addition, this gift will count toward the challenge grant recently issued by LPCiminelli.

“This is an important project in Western New York, and we are certainly proud to support the effort to restore this historic landmark,” said Lou Jacobs, a principal of Delaware North Companies who also currently serves as vice president of the board of directors of the Martin House Restoration Corporation.

Delaware North Companies is a global leader in hospitality and food service founded nearly 100 years ago in Buffalo by the Jacobs family, which continues to own and operate the company from its headquarters in downtown Buffalo.

“Delaware North and the Jacobs family understand and appreciate the importance of the Martin House and our efforts to restore it,” said MHRC President John N. Walsh III. “The company and the Jacobs family have been invaluable supporters of this project, and this gift will be a tremendous boost toward our fundraising goal.

MHRC executive director Mary F. Roberts stated, “We are honored and energized by this most recent gift. The Martin House is indeed fortunate to have these two wonderful organizations, Delaware North Companies and LPCiminelli, as such generous patrons of our work.”

Previously, Delaware North Companies donated $146,000 to the Darwin D. Martin House project, including a $125,000 lead gift in response to the M&T Chairman’s Challenge campaign in 2003.

To date, nearly $45 million has been raised for the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex, with the public and private sectors contributing almost equally, towards the restoration campaign goal of $50 million. Under the terms of LPCiminelli’s challenge grant, gifts can be made to either the restoration campaign or to the endowment fund. The MHRC will need to raise $750,000 in the private sector in order to earn the $250,000 gift.

The interior restoration of the Martin House, which is under way but only partially funded, is the fifth and final major phase of restoration work. This final major phase of restoration work involves all three levels of the 15,000-square-foot Martin House. Work to be completed includes reinstallation of Wright’s extensive interior woodwork, restoration of intricately layered wall finishes and recreation of the wisteria-patterned glass-tile mosaic on the central fireplace.

Once restored, the Martin House Complex is expected to draw between 60,000 to 100,000 visitors each year –including many first-time visitors from around the world, according to the results of independent consultants’ research. The mid-level range of projected visitation translates into nearly $20 million of annual economic impact for the region. This is largely new money to Western New York and to the state, which will in turn benefit state taxpayers. It is anticipated that the investment being made in the Martin House will pay for itself in three to five years.

About the Martin House Complex

The Martin House Complex, designed and built from 1903-05, is being restored to its 1907 condition. Wright scholars consider it a significant turning point in the evolution of the Prairie house concept. Wright called the Martin House his “opus,” and had its plans tacked above his drafting board for decades. The original complex consisted of the main Martin House, a pergola, conservatory and carriage house, the Barton House and a gardener’s cottage, totaling nearly 32,000 square feet. Reconstruction of the pergola, conservatory and carriage house was completed in early 2007 in the most ambitious restoration of demolished Wright buildings ever undertaken.

The Martin House Restoration Corporation is a New York not-for-profit corporation founded in 1992. It has a 30-member board of directors and nearly 400 active volunteers. The historic Martin House site is open for tours year round.