The Martin family’s grand home was also a place of business.
In 1883, George Martin built a new home for his family on the rural edge of downtown Naperville. Called Pine Craig, the mansion stood on Locust Hill near Martin’s limestone quarries along the DuPage River. Martin’s quarrying business boomed after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when Chicagoans needed stone to rebuild their devastated city.
The Martins’ home stood near the quarries closely tied their personal and business lives together, with dynamite blasts and clouds of limestone dust interrupting family meals. Pine Craig’s brick, tile, and stone showcased the building materials produced by George Martin’s operations. Martin met with customers in his home office, working with his daughters. Architect Joseph A. Mulvey designed Pine Craig for George Martin in the Victorian Eclectic style in 1883. After George Martin’s death in 1889, his widow and daughters stayed at Pine Craig, maintaining the family’s businesses by becoming active partners and managing their 200 acres estate.
In 1936, Martin’s daughter and last surviving heir, Caroline Martin Mitchell, created a living legacy that has lived, thrived, and expanded well into the 21st century. Through a perpetual charitable trust, she appointed the City of Naperville as the trustee of her family’s 212-acre estate. She outlined the terms and conditions to ensure that her land would be an ever-evolving legacy to the Martin family by securing Pine Craig as a museum, her orchards as a place to gather her community, and by dedicating the remaining acreage to the public good and stipulating that her lands be used to fund her museum when necessary. Today, Caroline’s vision is still being realized, and her 212 acres play a central role in shaping Naperville. Her home and orchards are now Naper Settlement. Caroline’s remaining land has shaped Naperville into a thriving epicenter of growth and progress with a variety of community assets including Naperville Central High School, Rotary Hill, Knoch Park, the Naperville Garden Plots, Von Oven Scout Reservation, Sportsman’s Park, Edwards Hospital, Naperville Cemetery, and more.