If you think about it, the Martin House is quite possibly synonymous with Buffalo's rebirth. At least in the eyes of national media. Every time this city gets any sort of national press, it's usually somehow related to progress at the Martin House. Whether it's the new Toshiko Mori designed visitors' center or another stained glass element being restored, or work on the Gardener's Cottage, or the completion of the impressive pergola... it seems as if the timeline of Buffalo's turnaround is mirrored by that of the progress of this symbolic complex. Not to say that when the Martin House is fully restored, Buffalo will be fully recovered... it's almost as if national media looks to that project more than any other as a litmus test to see if the city will indeed pull off a recovery that many thought would never happen. The Martin House narrowly escaped the wrecking ball and is making a remarkable recovery, albeit not as fast as some people would like, but the ongoing investment has managed to capture the imagination of people from around the world. Sounds a bit like Buffalo these days.
Bloomberg has just published a nice article on Buffalo, the FLW houses, and the city's rebirth. It's a great read, and will hopefully be fueled by the social media networks. An excerpt from Bloomberg : "Rescued Wright House for Soap King Crowns Buffalo Rebirth"...
I first visited the Martin house nearly 20 years ago, when it was beginning its facelift. News that the work was finally nearing completion and that the house had opened to the public brought me back to Buffalo, which is also dusting itself off after a few sad decades.
"You get a sense of a city on the move," I was told by native son A. R. Gurney, author of "The Dining Room" and other celebrated plays. "For young people there is a lot of life, lots of little theaters all over town are doing exciting work now."
This was a prosperous port city at the turn of the 19th century, a commercial gateway between the East Coast and the Midwest.
Central Park visionary Frederick Law Olmsted designed gracefully landscaped parks, boulevards and circles. Street lighting came early to the city with enterprising use of hydro- electric power courtesy of Niagara Falls.
Now Buffalo is getting a cultural recharge.