Article Contributed by
Chautauqua Region Community Foundation
Once an eight-room farmhouse that was used as the private residence of local philanthropists and community leaders, Robert and Elizabeth Marvin, the Marvin Community House is undergoing an exterior renovation.
An architecturally historic house, the Marvin Community House has been rated the best Queen Anne (shingle style structure) in Chautauqua County by the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development and today serves as a gathering place for women’s clubs and social events.
According to Rosemary Lombardo, Marvin Community House president, the exterior of the house is in need of much reconstruction and painting due to its age and climate conditions. The house needs to be stripped of old paint and repainted; and damaged siding trim and overhangs need to be repaired.
Due to the house’s location on North Main Street, there is added enthusiasm from Marvin House Community members and the public to have the house in pristine condition for the anticipated thousands of visitors coming into Jamestown to visit the National Comedy Center.
Funding for the renovations is provided by grants from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Lenna Foundation and Hultquist Foundation.
In 1897, Robert purchased the home located on the corner of West Fifth and Main Streets in Jamestown. He hired E.W. Diethrick, a famous New York City architect, to build rooms extending the front and south side of the original structure using a rare wood and furnishing the building with lovely antiques and oriental rugs.
Although Robert and Elizabeth did not have any children, their home was a central location for family celebrations, including the weddings of Robert’s nieces, charity benefits and private parties.
Following Robert’s death on Feb. 6, 1909, Elizabeth continued to live in the home and welcome others into it with open arms until her death in 1950.
According to Elizabeth’s will, the home she shared with her husband, all of its furnishings, and the sum of $20,000, was left with specific instructions to become a meeting space “for societies of the moral or mental improvement of women and are engaged in literary, musical, educational, patriotic, scientific or historical work.”
Over the past 60 years, much has been done to the original house. Porches have been converted to rooms; an elevator was installed, as well as, a handicapped bathroom and commercial kitchen.
For more information, contact the Marvin Community House at 488-6206.