825 S. Division Street, The Ryder Home:The Dr. John Greene Martin House
Tell the operator to ring Lake Charles #1, and you would be connected to the handsome Victorian Italianate home at 825 South Division Street owned by Dr. John Greene Martin and his family. The house was built around 1900, and it has only had four owners in its roughly 115 year history. Dr. Martin was an M.D., surgeon, community leader, World War I veteran, and visionary who was instrumental in the founding of St. Patrick hospital.
Mrs. Martin, nee Miss Lydia Smith of Australia, was also trained in the medical arts, having practiced nursing to help support the growing family while Dr. Martin finished his medical training.
The Victorian Italianate exterior of the home has features of both an “Italianate Villa” and a vernacular Victorian two story home.
The large inviting porches and two story columns share their architectural vocabulary with many of the other homes in the Charpentier district, while the gently pitched hip roof over a mild “tower” sporting a box bay window say “Italianate” as do the brackets over the columns. The straight cornices over the exterior windows and doors say “Charpentier District” as does the lack of brackets under the “tower” overhang. This house is a friendly, successful blend of at least two design styles adorning a familiar two story Gable L form with porches.
Sometime around 1995, the last surviving daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Martin sold the family home to Ada Vincent who painstakingly repaired and refurbished the heretofore unmolested structure. The house was landmarked by the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society in 1997.
The home is a virtual time capsule featuring curly heart-pine moldings over bead-board wainscot in the public areas, original stained and varnished doors and windows with bullseye, reed, and plinth block trim throughout (except for one room with painted woodwork), and original obscure glass transoms.
Renovations to the home have been mercifully careful over the years, and those were undertaken in such a manner as to preserve the historic look and feel of this home.
The home currently features an upscale modern kitchen, and it is decorated in an eclectic, comfortable style by the current owners, Stephanie and Robert Ryder. The Ryders have an engaging collection of family keepsakes and antiques that all harmonize with the period details of the house without even verging on Victorian Stiff and Stuffy. The Ryders have truly made the Martin House their home.