October 19, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of the Historic Graycliff Estate Restoration Project

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of the...

Buffalo Billion II Funding Restores Beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright Lakeside Property to Its Former Glory


See Video of Graycliff Estate Restoration Project Here


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Graycliff Estate on the shore of Lake Erie has been restored to its original splendor with the completion of a year-long extensive restoration project. The $4,047,000 project, which was supported by $3.7 million in Buffalo Billion II funding, includes complete interior restoration of both the Isabelle Martin House and the Foster House, landscaping improvements and a reconstructed beach access. The interior restoration of this New York State Landmark project builds on the $6 million exterior renovations previously completed by the Graycliff Conservancy.


"The spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright properties are an important part of New York's rich heritage and scenic beauty, and is a key destination in Western New York," said Governor Cuomo. "This historic restoration project will draw visitors from across the state and around the globe, while contributing to New York's thriving tourism industry for years to come."


"Graycliff is an important part of our architectural history. As a long time visitor to this magnificent property, I witnessed the stunning renovations that capture it's original beauty," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Thanks to investment from New York State, along with many individuals and charitable foundations, this masterpiece by Frank Lloyd Wright has been restored and preserved for the future. The new Graycliff will complement the restoration of Buffalo's Darwin Martin House and Barton House, creating an unparalleled tourism draw for the region. This project builds upon our efforts to reinvent the economy of Buffalo and Western New York and create unique destinations to drive further growth." 


Graycliff was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright between 1926-1931 for Isabelle R. Martin, wife of industrialist Darwin Martin, as a summer home for the family on the bluffs above Lake Erie. The eight and a half-acre Graycliff property, located at 6472 Old Lakeshore Road in Derby, now looks as it did when it was completed back in 1931. At that time, it was built with materials found on the site; the fireplace is composed of rocks that fell from the cliffs and the plaster for the walls was created with sand from the beach. The latest restoration effort includes new plumbing and heating systems, electrical work and a fire suppression system. Once work on the buildings' systems was complete, 8,000 square feet of walls were re-plastered, woodwork was restored and a shine was added to floors and hardware.


ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The investment of Buffalo Billion II funding has helped return Graycliff to its former glory. The restoration of this Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece ensures that, for many years to come, tourists will continue to visit Western New York to explore this and other architectural treasures."

President of the Graycliff Conservancy Board Charles LeFevre said, "Our longstanding goal of restoring Graycliff to its original place in time and into a more active and engaging location is one step closer to completion. We believe the beauty of the entire Frank Lloyd Wright designed property and grounds will stand out in a new light and will draw visitors directly into the many compelling stories that this special home has to tell of the American experience."


Graycliff Conservancy Executive Director Robert Wooler said, "The opening of this 'simple summer cottage' in its restored condition is a monument to the dedication and hard work of hundreds of GraycliffConservancy volunteers through the years and to the many donors whose contributions set the stage for the state's generous public investment, the fruits of which are being enjoyed with the completion of the Isabelle Martin house."


Senator Chris Jacobs said, "The Graycliff Estate is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's great masterpieces and a true gem of our architectural tourism industry. In addition to Wright's genius, the completed restoration highlights the spectacular beauty of Western New York's waterfront, and will ensure that this site continues to attract visitors for generations to come."


With interior restoration complete, Graycliff will shift its focus to restoring the historic landscape, returning access to the beach side tower and adding a pavilion that will serve as a Visitor and Interpretive Center. The center will feature historical exhibits, multimedia experiences and other interactive amenities that bring the many stories of Graycliff to life. The center is expected to open in 2020 with the capital campaign fundraising beginning this fall.


To experience Graycliff in its fully restored glory and to reserve your place on a tour, visit http://www.experiencegraycliff.org/ or call (716) 947-9217. 


About Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867-1959)
Frank Lloyd Wright is internationally recognized as one of the most important figures in 20th century architecture and design. His genius is marked by his vision to create a new form of American architecture based on the open landscape of the Midwestern Prairie. Wright redefined traditional concepts of space by physically and spiritually connecting the built environment to the natural world. He is best known for his "prairie style" homes, efficient office buildings, and innovative furniture and decorative designs.


About Graycliff Estate
The non-profit Graycliff Conservancy, Inc., a 501(c)(3), was founded in 1997 to acquire, preserve, and restore the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Graycliff Estate. The Conservancy has made great progress in completing restoration of the Estate, while offering public tours and educational events. A New York State Landmark, Graycliff is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is located at 6472 Old Lakeshore Rd., Derby, NY, 14047.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office