Marvin House Reopens with Salute to a Founder

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The board of directors of the Marvin House announce its reopening after an interruption of operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Reopening is set for October 15, 2020.

In conjunction with the reopening, the Marvin House will celebrate the 102nd birthday of one of the Founders, Dorothy Valone Snitger. On December 2, 1951, Mrs. Snitger, at the age of 33, signed the Marvin House Charter. “Dorothy Valone” joined 399 other civic-minded women committed to carry out the vision to provide a meeting place for women engaged in literature, musical, educational, patriotic, and historical work. The original Charter is on display in the Sitting Room.

Of note are other surnames of the individuals who accepted full responsibility for the Marvin House. The Charter includes names recognizable as part of the Jamestown area’s historic fabric, Newland, Broadhead, Howard, Isabella, Sheldon, Hall, and Magnuson are just a few examples.

The Marvin House beginnings spring from the love story of Robert Marvin (the most eligible bachelor in town) and the beautiful, refined Elizabeth Warner. In 1898 the wedding of the century joined two important, influential Jamestown families.

Mr. Marvin died in 1909. Elizabeth, a woman ahead of her time, continued their reputation for culture, mental improvement, and generosity. In 1950 Elizabeth died, entrusting her home and legacy to the women of Jamestown.

The Marvin House building is listed in the report, “Historic Preservation in Chautauqua County”, prepared by the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development. This report recognizes the importance of preserving many of our historic structures of architectural significance throughout the County. The Marvin House is considered the best “shingle-style” structure in the County and was given a Priority 1 rating, those that should be preserved under any circumstances.

Today, it stands as an excellent example of the architecture and life that was enjoyed by the upper class during the early 1900’s. Although some changes have been made for better use of the building today, the beauty and atmosphere of quiet charm still prevail.

Dorothy Valone Snitger, Marvin House Founder
Dorothy Valone Snitger,
Marvin House Founder

Dorothy Valone Snitger is the daughter of Dr. James and Ola Stover Valone. Dr. Valone was a well-known Jamestown Internist. A prominent diagnostician, he was legendary throughout western New York. As a child our honoree resided at the family home located at 25 Allen Street. She married candy manufactures representative, Robert Snitger in 1953. Robert, not being a fan of candy, designated Dorothy as the “candy tester”.

Her special remembrances of the Marvin House include beautiful musical performances. Seventy years later, some of the traditions Mrs. Snitger enjoyed, remain. A ‘Capella Club concerts and Mozart Club presentations remain staples at the Marvin House. Reminiscing with this gentlewoman is a joy. At 102 she remembers clearly the delicious meals prepared by legendary cook Edie Bush, the beauty of the house at Christmas time and the infamous Marvin House pickles.

Each Thursday, for many years, Mrs. Snitger played bridge in the Round Room with seven of her close friends. Today, the quiet and peaceful Marvin House still is a favorite setting for card players.

The October 15th membership meeting will include Dorothy Valone Snitger’s 102nd birthday recognition.

Please call 716-488-6206 for membership information or to reserve a charming room for your next special event. View this historic home and detailed story at www.marvinhouse.com.