Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DARWIN R. MARTIN REMEMBERS THE CARRIAGE HOUSE



The Martin House carriage house (FLW Foundation)


Plan of Martin carriage house (FLW Foundation)
In the 1970s Jack Randall, an architect and historian, asked Darwin R. Martin to review a manuscript that he had written on Wright in Buffalo. Martin's response indicates that he had some measure of his father's extraordinary powers of retention. Some might wonder why we should care, but the building  in question (above) demolished in the 1960s and has since been rebuilt and modified to accommodate a bookstore. This is the best account of what it was like and how it functioned originally. He writes:

"The "Buffalo Venture" [Randall's manuscript] fails to identify the uses of "garage" properly. It was a combination stable and garage. [It] included 2 box stalls and 2 open stalls and a paddock for airing horses. The gas-engine driven d.c. Dynamo was in the basement of the bldg. along with heating boilers -- anthracite coal, hand-fed -- and a "mushroom-cellar" and tool room -- connected direct thru [the] "pergola" under-pass to the main house.



The Martin House dynamo (University Archives, SUNY at Buffalo)

 One of the box stalls (eastern one) was converted later into a bank of "EDISON" storage batteries for illuminating [the] entire complex. "Garage" area, i.e., front section, had [a] manually operated Turn-table that that also served as wash-rack for cars and carriages. 


The Martin horse team and brougham (University Archives, SUNY at Buffalo)


The Martin's Maxwell (University Archives, SUNY at Buffalo)
[The] family maintained a team of horses plus a brougham and Victoria by "BRUNN" who also made auto bodies for "PEERLESS" chassis. D.D.M.'s first personal car was [a] "MAXWELL" runabout - 1 cyl. "side-winder" circa 1907 or 1908 (I think it was called "Maxwell Messenger").* I have invoices for most of D.D.M.'s early cars but, so far, none for carriages and horses. Later cars were "Pierce Arrow" sedans. There was also an early "Electric" cabriolet - (1st one I think a "Babcock", The last one a "Detroit".) Father drove the "Electric" to work after he got rid of [the] Maxwell (I think about 1920). He preferred to walk to Jefferson St. (now Ave.) and then take the street car to work so he could read on route. Earlier he road the "BELT LINE" that made a stop at Main where the "Trico" plant is now."

[Thanks to Jason Aronoff and Susana Tejada]

* Martha Neri points out that Darwin Martin's first automobile was a Haynes-Apperson purchased in 1904 and sold in 1908 in order to buy the Maxwell. Thanks, Martha.  

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