Most people remember Frank Lloyd Wright as the architect behind iconic homes like Fallingwater and the Robie House. But did you know that he designed hundreds of lesser-known—but no less innovative—designs?
Just one is a filling station he designed in 1927 for the Tide Water Oil Company in Buffalo, New York. Like nearly everything Wright conceived, the design was ahead of its time with a second-story observation room complete with a fireplace; a copper roof; two, 45-foot totem-like poles; and an overhead, gravity-fed gas distribution system for fueling cars.
“Mr. Wright called it an ornament to the pavement. It’s the most famous filling station in the world, and possibly the most unique and unusual work of Wright,” said James Sandoro, the museum’s founder and executive director.
Wright’s station was unfortunately never built during his lifetime. It actually took until 2002 for those designs to start being realized. That’s the year Buffalo’s Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum began planning to construct a one-of-a-kind installation of the filling station.
The exhibit, which is in the grand glass atrium attached to the museum’s main hall, opened to the public earlier this year. In addition to the filling station, you can also see Wright’s very own 1929 L-29 Cord Cabriolet car on display. Erie Insurance is proud to sponsor this classic car, which is on loan from the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana.
To learn more about the Frank Lloyd Wright filling station exhibit, visit the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum website.