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Graycliff Estate to receive Buffalo Billion II money to complete restoration

New York State is providing $3.7 million to the organization which has led an ongoing project to restore what was once the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed summer home of Darwin Martin and his family.

The Graycliff Estate, located along the Lake Erie shoreline in the Town of Evans, was acquired by the Graycliff Conservancy in 1997 and has undergone a slow restoration. The exteriors of the house and garage, the latter of which has a second-floor apartment, were returned to their 1930s look for about $6 million. 

The Conservancy is now working to restore the interiors of both structures.

"We have some minor interior work going on during our busy summer tourist season," said Robert Wooler, the executive director of the Graycliff Conservancy. "When we get to the fall and during the winter and then all through next year, we're going to be going methodically through the two houses and restoring all the surfaces."

Work on the interiors is estimated at $4 million. Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Hochul was present to announce that most of it would be provided through Buffalo Billion II. She explained that by helping to complete the restoration, the Graycliff Estate would be ready to enhance the legacy of architect Frank Llolyd Wright and further secure Buffalo as a destination for tourists interested in Wright's work.

"Travel & Leisure named Buffalo as one of the top regions in the world for its premier architecture," Hochul said. "This is one of the gems. This is one of the jewels."

Tourism leaders echoed the Lieutenant Governor's thoughts. Patrick Kaler, president and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara, expressed his excitement at the increased draw a restored Graycliff Estate would be to those coming to enjoy Wright's other local works.

"With everything else that we have with the Darwin Martin House, with the boathouse, with the Blue Sky Mausoleum, this is truly going to make a very strong statement for those Frank Lloyd Wright aficionados, as well as people who come to Buffalo and Erie County for our architecture and history, to extend their stay," Kaler said. 

The Darwin Martin House in Buffalo recently marked formal completion of renovations with the introduction of a replica two-sided fireplace. The restoration of Graycliff Estate is expected to be finished by November 2018.


Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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