Preserving the Martin House in Emmett

Preserving the Martin House in Emmett

Preserving the Martin House in Emmett

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by Matt Standal

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBMatt

KTVB.COM

Posted on May 21, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 4:05 AM

EMMETT, Idaho -- The historic Martin House sits safely tucked-away inside the construction yard of the Western Pump and Equipment store just off Hwy. 55 south of Emmett

The roof ripples with plastic tarps that keep the rain out. The floor sags, and the paint peels. Inside, an old claw-foot bathtub sits inside the living room. An ancient rose bush curls around the crumbling chimney.

However, it wasn't always that way.

The home is over 130 years old, and was once the stately residence of the namesake Martin Family, who lent their name to the now-defunct village of Martinville that once stood here. According to local lore, the Martins were also known to operate a successful ferry service at the nearby Payette River.

According to amateur historian and current owner Dennis White, the Martin Home is also one of the oldest single-plank style homes in existence in the State of Idaho. White explains that single-plank homes had a single length of plank wood that ran from the home's foundation to the roof eaves.

White says that feature is what makes the home so interesting and rare. He says that because single-plank homes don't have any central supports, most quickly fell over as the years passed.

White - who once rented the home in the 1980's - researched the architecture and soon realized the Martin House needed to be restored.

"I try to hang onto the past," White told KTVB.

White and Mayor Bill Butticci have now teamed with the Gem County Historical Society to try and save the home. They estimate they'll need about $45,000 to $50,000 to safely move the home across the highway where it can be restored.

"It's definitely a gem to Idaho, if we can save and complete it," Butticci said.

The groups have been raising money to complete the project, but they say they need financial help. Those interested in learning more about the historic home can visit the Gem County Historical Society Website and learn how to donate.


 

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