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Transportation museum builds Wright gas station

June 27, 2014

BUFFALO, New York (AP) — 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 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.

“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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