New York transportation museum builds gas station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1927

The Associated Press
June 27, 2014 07:34 AM

The Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum's Frank Lloyd Wright-designed filling station, seen in a Thursday, June 26, 2014 photo, opens Friday, June 27, 2014, more than 11 years after acquiring the 1927 plans from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in Scottsdale, Az., at The Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, in Buffalo, N.Y. The filling station never made it off the drawing board during the architect's lifetime. (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, John Hickey)

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Frank Lloyd Wright's 1927 vision of a proper gas station had two fireplaces, a second-floor observation room, eye-catching copper spires and separate restrooms for the comfort of travellers 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.

"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 an addition to the museum to protect it and its visitors from the elements.

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 Arizona.

Eventually, Wright would design and help build one working gas station, in Minnesota. The station, opened in 1958 with a glass-walled observation lounge and copper canopy similar to what Wright envisioned 30 years earlier, remains open today.

Wright died in 1959.

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