Graycliff, Summer Home of the Martin Family
Graycliff, built between 1926 and 1931, was a summer retreat home for Isabelle R. Martin, wife of Buffalo businessman Darwin D. Martin. The home was built on a cliff along the waterfront of Lake Erie, thirty minutes away from the city of Buffalo, where the Martin residence was located. Even though the Buffalo residence had to be forfeited due to financial hardship the family faced during the Great Depression, Graycliff remained their summer home until 1943. In 1951, the Piarists (Piarist Fathers), a Roman Catholic teaching order from Hungary, purchased Graycliff to turn it into a boarding school and a high school for high-achieving students in the area. While occupying the property, they added two new structures but did so without altering the original Wright-designed building. In 1997, the home was put up for sale due to declining student enrollment and the fact that the Piarists could no longer afford to maintain it. The present lot was acquired by a private collector during this time before being offered at Christie's in 2010.