To endure is greater than to dare; to tire out hostile fortune;

A Change in Direction

At some point in this period, the partners decided to avoid participating in county subdivision development, believing that the approval process had become overly politicized and that it was not financially worthwhile. In retrospect, it is difficult to say whether that decision was wise, but it did shape the course of the firm and focused its activities for the next several decades. Where once the firm was the largest operation of its kind in the state, that distinction was ceded to others. Instead, the firm concentrated on city and county surveys and built on the foundation laid two generations before.

The Depression reduced revenues to a third of what they had been prior, so the firm, and its partners, hunkered down. One story survives from the period, where a senior partner commented that a junior partner had worn the same pair of trousers the previous day. Replied the younger, "Seems likely. This is the only pair I have." Although the owners may keep their jobs when hard times hit a small business, they might not get paid very often.

to be daunted by no difficulty;


Thompson and Wimmer died within 11 weeks of each other, and Tustin found himself unable to keep up with the demands of his clients. The well-documented labor shortage during World War II affected the firm as well and Tustin asked Howard Sutton to merge his firm, Sutton, Britcher and Co. into Martenet. This was done in 1944.

to keep heart when all have lost it -- who can say this is not greatness? -- William Makepeace Thackeray


Howard D. Tustin, Jr. and Richard P. Tustin, sons of Howard D. Tustin, Sr. joined the firm after World War II and were the first partners fortunate enough to retire from the business.

New Blood

In 1988, Joel M. Leininger, David S. Paplauckas and Thomas L. Wilhelm bought the assets of the partnership from the Tustin brothers and incorporated the firm. After a brief transitional period, the Tustins retired.

In 1993 the firm entered into a joint venture with Purdum and Jeschke lasting four years whereby Martenet assumed responsibility for both firms' surveying activities in return for facilities management and other related overhead expenses. At the dissolution of the joint venture, Jeffrey A. Howard left Purdum and Jeschke and joined the firm as a fourth partner. In 2002 Purdum and Jeschke exited the surveying business after 50-odd years, and the firm acquired those records.

Today the firm, under the direction of its fifth generation of principals, operates out of an 1860s-era building on Franklin Street. It serves a diverse group of clients with retracement surveys, topography, litigation support, and construction layout.

Previous: The Great Baltimore Fire
Back to Home


Page 4 of 4
Copyright © 2009 S.J. Martenet & Co., Inc.