Saturday, March 9, 2013


The immediate neighborhood surrounding the Darwin Martin House is rich in  late nineteenth century architecture. The curving street pattern [E] of the Parkside neighborhood was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Directly south of the Martin House stands the 1888 Tudor style home of William Wicks [D], partner of Edward B. Green who dominated Buffalo architecture at every level for over forty years.
Fig. D. William Wicks, Wicks House, Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY, 1888 (J. Quinan)

Fig. C.  Silsbee, Marling and Burdett, Church of the Good Shepard, Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, NY ( 

The Church of the Good Shepherd [C], east of the Wicks House, was initially designed by Silsbee and Marling but subsequently reworked by Marling and a new partner, Herbert C. Burdett, who came to Buffalo from the office of H.H. Richardson. J.L. Silsbee began his practice in Syracuse but relocated to Chicago where he flourished as a domestic specialist. Together with James Marling, Silsbee maintained an office in Buffalo where they designed numerous Victorian homes on Linwood and Delaware avenues and North street, but Silsbee is best known for hiring the young Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago in 1887. Wright had this to say about him in his autobiography:

Silsbee could draw with amazing ease. He drew with soft, deep black lead-pencil strokes and he would make remarkable free-hand sketches of that type of dwelling peculiarly in his mind at the time… His work was a picturesque combination of gable, turret and hip, with broad porches, quietly domestic and gracefully picturesque. [Frank Lloyd Wright, An Autobiography (New York, 1943)]

Fig. B. E.B. Green,  Dr. Benjamin Grove House, Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, 1888 (J. Quinan)
Fig. 1. Bruce Price, Chandler House, Tuxedo Park, N.Y. 1885
Fig. 2. Frank LLoyd Wright, Wright Home, Oak Park, Illinois 1889
Across Jewett Parkway to the north of the church resides the Dr. Benjamin Grove House by Green & Wicks, a design with an intriguing lineage. The upper two floors of the front façade are comprised of an isosceles triangular pediment that overhangs a pair of symmetrical half octagonal bays. According to Vincent Scully (The Stick Style and the Shingle Style, 1952) this motif first appeared in Bruce Price’s Chandler [Fig. 1]  and Kent houses, both built in 1885-6, in Tuxedo Park, New York, and was the inspiration for Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1889 home in Oak Park, Illinois [Fig. 2]. It seems that E.B. Green and Wright were looking at the same sources published in 1886.

Fig. A.  E.B. Green, Swiss Cottage Style House for Dr. Grove, c1890 (J. Quinan)
East of Wright’s George Barton House on Summit Avenue stands a marvelous Swiss Cottage by E.B. Green [A], also the property of Dr. Grove. Altogether the three Green and Wicks houses – Tudor, Swiss, and Shingle style -- bear testimony to the ready eclecticism that sustained the firm so long and established a foil for Wright’s radical critique of American architecture, so well represented here in the Darwin D. Martin House.

Fig. 3 Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo, NY 1903-1906 (J. Quinan)

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