Transportation museum builds Wright gas station

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm •  Published: June 27, 2014
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Frank Lloyd Wright's 1927 vision of a proper service station had two fireplaces, a second-floor observation room, eye-catching copper spires and separate restrooms for the comfort of travelers increasingly hitting the road rather than rails.

The architect never saw his idea leave the drawing board after demanding an architectural fee equal to the cost of building it.

But on Friday, the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum cut the ribbon on the Wright-designed station it built from the plans, with Wright's own convertible parked out front as if awaiting a fill-up.

"In 1927, you had a gas pump and an outhouse," museum founder James Sandoro said, contrasting the filling stations of the times with the luxury version Wright designed for a nearby Buffalo intersection.

The non-working station was built inside a 40,000-square-foot addition to the museum to protect it and its visitors from the elements. Two 45-foot copper poles that Wright called totems rise from the floor through a copper cantilevered roof typical of Wright designs. To avoid pump islands, Wright proposed putting the gas overhead in gravity-fed tanks, a setup — especially with fireplaces underneath — that wouldn't pass safety codes today.

In his writings, Wright called his station "an ornament to the pavement," said Sandoro, who acquired the rights to build it 11 years ago from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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