Timeline

Darwin D. Martin was born on October 25, 1865

1865

Frank Lloyd Wright was born on June 8, 1867

1867

Isabelle Reidpath Martin was born on April 9, 1869

1869

Darwin D. Martin, aged thirteen, begins work at J.D. Larkin & Company in Buffalo after starting with the company in the New York City area the year before.

1879

Darwin D. Martin marries Isabelle M. Reidpath

1889

Darwin D. Martin replaces Elbert Hubbard as Secretary of Larkin Soap Manufacturing Company. Daughter Dorothy R. Martin was born.

1893

Darwin D. Martin meets Frank Lloyd Wright. Later purchases site for Martin House Complex, Jewett Parkway. [Martin’s diary records that FLW stayed overnight at the Martin’s home on 11/18/02]

1902

Construction begins on Barton House

1903

Construction begins on Martin House

1904

Martin House Complex completed. Martins moved in on 11/21/05

1905

Dorothy Martin marries James Foster

1923

DDM writes to FLW requesting 1910 Bay Beach (Ontario, Canada) Cottage design; DDM is considering building on shores of Lake Erie. The next day DDM writes to cancel his request of Wright. DDM looks at site in Derby, New York and purchases 250-foot front lot on Lake Erie, with a 60-foot cliff. DDM sends to Frank Lloyd Wright their general requirements for a simple 2- story house on shores of Lake Erie, with floor plan similar to that of E. W. Russell of Greenwich, Connecticut.

FLW then sends DDM two preliminary sketches. Darwin D. Martin informs Frank Lloyd Wright that Isabelle R. Martin is Frank Lloyd Wright’s client and sends the changes she wants in the plan. FLW arrives in Buffalo to see site. Construction on garage begins. Due to marital problems, FLW asks his son John Lloyd Wright to take over the project, but the Martins do not approve the change. FLW resumes his service to the Martins; construction continues on the site.

1923

Darwin D. Martin retires from Larkin Company

1925

FLW visits site in April. In June, DDM writes to FLW of the completion of the foundation of the main house and FLW visits Graycliff site. FLW finalizes designs. Chimney and masonry of main house completed.

1927

March 10, 12 – Additional furniture is bought for the main house. April 11 to July 20 – Design of Blue Sky Mausoleum (executed 2005). July 20 – Martins "open" house. September 20 – Paul A. Harsh, a house guest at Graycliff, suggests the name, "Graycliff"

1928

Isabelle R. Martin asks FLW to design a screened walk to cross the esplanade behind the stone bench for servants. FLW visits site. Construction on evergreen garden, stone seat begins. FLW selects and ships furnishings for the main house from Marshall Fields in Chicago; FLW suggests Wicker and overstuffed chairs for the main house.

1929

Grandchildren Margaret Foster and Darwin Martin Foster born

1930

DDM passes away. Isabelle R. Martin continues to summer at the site.

1935

Engineering report on site compiled by G.E. Seitzmiller for insurance purposes.

1938

Isabelle R. Martin continues to summer at the site, but moves into the garage apartment

1941

Isabelle R. Martin spends her last summer at the site; she moves permanently to Buffalo to live with the Foster family

1943

IRM passes away. Stewardship of the site falls to a holding company belonging to Darwin R. Martin, son of DDM

1945

Piarist Fathers, a Hungarian order, purchases the site from Darwin R. Martin

1950

Chapel addition constructed over south terrace of main house. Garage addition and storage building constructed

1955

School building/dormitory constructed to house Hungarian and, later, Cuban refugees

1956

FLW visits Graycliff

1958

FLW dies

1959

7 Piarist Fathers place property for sale.

1996

Graycliff Conservancy formed to acquire and restore site. Down payment to Piarist Fathers by Conservancy.

1997

Graycliff Designated a State Landmark and was awarded $10,000 grant for Historic Structures Report by Preservation League of NY. The Baird Foundation guarantees mortgage; Graycliff Conservancy signs contract to purchase the site.

1998

Deed Transferred to Conservancy. Graycliff Begins Phase 0 of Restoration. Graycliff Conservancy Receives Preservation League Award. November - Graycliff Conservancy, Inc. and Jack Quinan each awarded Wright Spirit Awards by FLW Building Conservancy

Graycliff Begins Phase I of Restoration

1999

Graycliff Conservancy Receives $145,000 in State Funding, Donation of Historic Photograph Collection, Grant from Kress Foundation, Major Archival Donation and $500,000 Grant

2000

Estate to Receive New York State funding for restoration of windows and doors, Graycliff Begins Phase II of Restoration, First Niagara Bank & East Hill Foundation Fund Gift Shop and Historic Exhibits, Visitor Center Ribbon-Cutting on October 31.

2001

Margaret L. Wendt Foundation Funds Restoration, John R. Oishei Foundation Awards Restoration Funding.

2002

Graycliff Awarded Prestigious Save America’s Treasures Grant, Diane Chrisman to Replace Carol Bronnenkant as New President of Graycliff Conservancy Board, Graycliff begins Phase IIIA of Restoration,

2003

Graycliff receives Federal Appropriation for Visitor Readiness, Reine Hauser appointed first Executive Director.

2004

Wendt-Pierce Family Trust provides funding for restoration of historic gardens and grounds, East Hill Foundation underwrites restoration of Isabelle’s Balcony.

2005

John R. Oishei Foundation Provides Funding for Restoration of Foster House

2006

Margaret L. Wendt Foundation Funds Restoration of Foster House

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo Awards Funding for Restoration of North Terrace, Isabelle R. Martin House. Graycliff Conservancy receives major funding from New York State for restoration of historic gardens and grounds. New York State Council on the Arts provides funding for Graycliff lecture series. Graycliff begins Phase IIIB of restoration.

2007

Keybank grant awarded to Graycliff Conservancy for Marketing

M&T Charitable Foundation provides support for restoration of historic gardens and grounds. Schichtel Nurseries; Balbach Family Foundation; Phyllis Pierce Trust provide funding for restoration of historic grounds and gardens. Graycliff featured in August issue of Town and Country Magazine. New York State Council on Arts; Cannon Design underwrites lecture series.

2008

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo awards support for restoration of historic grounds and gardens. NYS Support to Graycliff Conservancy for marketing with support of Assemblyman Jack Quinn III. Graycliff Conservancy historic grounds and gardens receives major support from Saperston Family Foundation. Patrick J. Mahoney, AIA, assumes Presidency of Graycliff Conservancy.

2009

Original Table Returns to Graycliff with help of Hooper Family Foundation. Fire Suppression System Completed in Foster House.

2010

Cultural Landscape Report Completed. Graycliff  Conservancy Acquires Caretaker's Cottage, with support from the County of Erie.

2011

Family Sun Porch Restored (first interior room), with help of Hooper Family Foundation, Historic Landscape Restoration Moves Forward, Diane Schrenk Assumes Presidency of the Graycliff Conservancy, Underwriting support from the family of author Marjorie Quinlan.

2012

Historic Landscape Restoration Phase I Completed with support from The State of New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the entire New York State Legislature; The County of Erie; The Phyllis W. Pierce Charitable Remainder Trust; The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo; Saperston Asset Management; The Western New York Foundation; M&T Bank; The Balbach Family Foundation; The Simple Gifts Fund;  Schichtel Nurseries;  Claire Schen and Gregory Cherr and the Cameron Brown Fund.

Isabelle R. Martin House – Interior Restoration Advances: Living Room Floor, Fire Suppression System, Dining Room Floor and Foyer, Original Table Donated, thanks to Judson Mead and Jack Quinan.

2013

Isabelle R. Martin House – Interior Restoration Completed: 
Living Room Floor, Fire Suppression System, Dining Room Floor and Foyer, with support from New York State, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation and the Hooper Family Foundation

M&T Visitor Pavilion Upgrades Completed, thanks to Alpha Contract Flooring and Uniland Development

Renovations to Caretakers Cottage Undertaken

Drawings and specifications for interior restoration completed, thanks to support from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

2014

Historic Furnishings Report completed, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Charles LeFevre assumes Presidency of Graycliff Conservancy.

2015

Robert Wooler begins as the Executive Director of the Graycliff Conservancy

2016

The State of New York, through Empire State Development's investment in the economic development of the region through the second phase of the Buffalo Billion, commits $3.7 million to complete the restoration of Graycliff and burnish the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright's work in Buffalo to boost regional tourism.

2017

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