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The Larkin Administration Building: Hope Reigns Supreme

“One day we’ll dig it all up and rebuild it,” he says, almost popping with excitement. “It’s not a question of if – but when.”

That’s a quote from Tim Tielman in an article in The Guardian. The premise of the article discusses Buffalo’s architectural stock of Frank Lloyd Wright structures, both old and new. As I was reading along, I was dumbstruck at Tielman’s words… “It’s not a question of if – but when.” In the article, Tim is referring to Wright’s Administration Building, which was demolished and buried in the Ohio Canal Basin along the Buffalo River (essentially where Father Conway Park is located).

Reading the passage, this was the first time that I ever heard anyone with profound insight into the inner-workings of The Larkin District and keen knowledge of what it might take to pull off such a daunting undertaking, express anything other than “It’ll never happen, nor should it.”

Over the years, I have become so accustomed to “those in the know” shooting the idea down, that I never really second guessed whether it really could happen. Then again, I have always remained hopeful. How could you not? Looking at the photos, and wondering what was going through the minds of the people that ordered the demolition… ugh. To this day, every time I see my aunt, I ask her about what it was like to step into the building. She was a little girl at the time, but just knowing someone who actually saw the interior firsthand – it’s a connection that makes the building a reality in my mind, instead of a forlorn fantasy.


Now that Tim has uttered those words, it has changed that way that I view The Larkin District moving forward. It’s hard to pass by that pitiful site, imagining the ghostly shape of the building as it rises from the parking lot footprint where it once stood. Looking back, the Zemsky’s could have earmarked that site for a building (a building that would have always been looked upon with scorn). Instead they chose a parking lot that could easily be removed if the fateful day was to ever arise.

Simply knowing that one day, whether I’m around or not, someone might actually pull off such a feat? It’s not as if this is one of Wright’s “zombies”. This building already stood tall in Buffalo. This is not simply a faux blueprint recreation. If the pieces are all sitting there, buried along the Buffalo River, hope reigns supreme.


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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