NewsLocal News


Imagine cleaning one of Buffalo’s most iconic homes

The Martin House closes for a 'deep-clean'
Posted at 5:58 PM, Jan 21, 2020

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Imagine cleaning one of Buffalo’s most iconic homes. The Martin House, 125 Jewett Parkway in north Buffalo, is closed now through January 29th for annual maintenance.

Ginny Williams, head housekeeper, The Martin House, cleaning windows.

This week is set aside for deep cleaning at the Martin House and there's a whole lot for a volunteer team to clean the historic masterpiece.

“My team is just incredible. We manage to keep it spic and span,” laughed Ginny Williams, head housekeeper.

With more than 40,000 visitors coming into the historic home each year, it can get pretty dirty. But over the next nine days they'll be cleaning.

Vounteer helps clean inside The Martin House.

So how do you clean a house that's an historic landmark designed by famed architect frank Lloyd Wright and built in the early 1900's? Very carefully!

“What is the biggest challenge in cleaning this house?” Buckley asked.

“The woodwork and the windows. There's eight and half miles of wood trim, so all of this is cleaned and the ‘Tree of Life’ window which has 750 pieces of art glass that's very challenging,” replied Williams. “We have to careful not to get too much water because the water gets under the caning and then the caning could loosen and that would cause a problem – with loose pieces of glass.”

Tree of Life’ window has 750 pieces of art glass.

And in cleaning those 750 pieces of window glass, they don't use paper towels or window cleaner – just water and a special cloth to prevent lint and streaking.

“We take these one by one – and clean them with the special cloth. First, we use a wet cloth, and this is actually a polishing cloth,” explained Williams.

The Martin House is one of the most famous of wright's prairie houses in the U.S.

Looking out a window onto The Martin House property.

Executive director Mary Roberts says keeping it accessible to the public is very important.

“We've made a very conscious choice to not have velvet ropes so that you can enjoy the spaces, walk through them, just as the martin's did when they lived here,” Roberts explained

The green house plants even get cleaned. The Martin House horticulturist Nell Gardner says they create a rain forest like deep-clean to keep them healthy.

martin plants .jpg
The green house plants even get cleaned.

“The plants are clean and happy and they are less susceptible to things like mites and insects,” remarked Gardner.

Although there is much to tackle during the cleaning and maintenance process, Williams tells use it’s a “delight and blessing” and loves being in the house.

Inside The Martin House.

“I have a group of people that are cleaning fanatics and that’s a nice term for them,” declared Williams.

And while The Martin House is a national tourist attraction, when it reopens on January 30 it will provide special 50-percent discounts will be offered for all public tours for Erie County residents.