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The Buffalo area is home to several buildings by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959).
The Darwin D. Martin House, part of the Darwin D. Martin House Complex in Buffalo's Parkside East Historic District, is considered one of the finest examples of a Wright prairie-style structure. The estate was commissioned in 1902 by Darwin Martin, a wealthy Buffalo businessman who would become one of Wright's most loyal patrons. The first Wright house on the property was the George Barton House (at 118 Summit Avenue), built in 1903 for Martin's sister and brother-in-law. The final touches were applied to Martin's own house in 1907. The estate also includes the Gardener's Cottage (285 Woodward Avenue). At this writing, the complex is undergoing a multiyear restoration. Restored in the first phases of the work were the pergola, conservatory, and carriage house. The final phase is a restoration of the house interiors, which will likely continue through 2010. The site remains open for tours during restoration. 125 Jewett Pkwy., Buffalo, NY, 14214. 716/856-3858. darwinmartinhouse.org. Tours $15, free 2nd and 4th Thurs. each month. Tours by appointment.
Around the same time, Wright also designed the Walter V. Davidson House (57 Tillinghast Place) and the William R. Heath House (72 Soldier's Place), both of which are private residences.
The Martins liked their Buffalo home so much that they also commissioned Wright to design their summer estate.
The centerpiece of the 8½-acre Graycliff estate is the two-story main house, built circa 1926. Its cantilevered balconies take advantage of its position atop a 70-foot-cliff overlooking Lake Erie. The estate is undergoing an extensive multiphase, multiyear restoration. The property is about 18 mi south of Buffalo. 6472 Old Lake Shore Rd., Derby, NY, 14047. 716/947-9217. www.graycliffestate.org. Tours $15. Tours Apr.-Nov. and Christmas season by appointment.
In 1928 Darwin Martin commissioned a family mausoleum—a project he dropped after his fortunes were pummeled by the following year's stock-market crash. In 2004, Buffalo's Forest Lawn cemetery (near Delavan Avenue) built the concrete-and-granite Blue Sky Mausoleum from plans owned by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1411 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY, 14209. 716/885-1600. www.forest-lawn.com. Free. Apr.-Oct., daily 8-7; gates close earlier during daylight savings months (times vary).
The Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum is building a winged gas station from unfinished Wright plans. A former Wright apprentice is involved with the project, which, once built, won't actually function as a station but will rather complement the museum's collection of cars and automobile memorabilia and artifacts. 263 Michigan Ave., Buffalo, NY, 14203. 716/853-0084. www.pierce-arrow.com. $7. Mar.-Dec., Sat. noon-5; and by appointment.
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