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cache type Frank Lloyd Wright Series #2: Larkin Building cache size

This cache has been retired.
Please do not look for this cache.

by Rayman77
(Finds: 104  Score: 393.5)    (Hidden: 10  Score: 32.5)

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Coordinates (WGS-84 datum)
N 42° 52.630'   W 078° 51.117'
Buffalo,   New York   14204
United States    Near By Caches

Hidden On: 15 Apr 2006
Waypoint (Landmark): N02000
Open Cache:  Personal use only
Cache type:  Normal
Cache size:   Micro

Difficulty: gps half gps (easy)
Terrain: gps half gps (easy)

Misc: No drinking water! No restrooms (water closets) available Pets are allowed. Parking is a challenge. No fees!

This is the second cache in a series highlighting the local structures designed by world famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Inside is a clue which will lead you to a final cache location. Be sure to write this clue down so you can find the final. Note to cachers: You DO NOT need to climb the embankment behind the pillar to find this cache.

Maps are queued for generation.
Additional maps for this cache available at: topozone.com logo    mapquest.com logo

One of Wright's first public building commission was the Larkin Company Administration Building that was completed between 1903 and 1905. The Larkin Company was a mail order business that manufactured soap, household goods, furniture, food, drugs and many other items. The building cost $4 million to build, but with the money pouring into the Larkin Company at such a fast rate, this was not a problem.

The building was constructed of dark red brick with pink tinted mortar. At five stories high, the main building was attached to an annex of approximately three stories. The entire roof was paved with brick and served as a recreation area for the building's employees, their families and guests.

The interior consisted of a five-story central court, surrounded by balconies. The upper level contained a kitchen, bakery, dining rooms, classrooms, a branch of the Buffalo Public Library, restrooms, a roof garden, and a conservatory. The Larking building was completely revolutionary for its time. Most obviously it was one of the first buildings to use a form of air conditioning that was integral to its design. The main pillars would circulate air through them and treat them with a water mist to cool and cleanse the air as it flowed into the rest of the building. The building was designed with both elevators and stairways.

It was among the first buildings to use metal furniture instead of wood. The flooring was made of magnesite which was very quiet and also fireproof. Magnesite is a mixture of concrete, sawdust, pigment and sometimes asbestos. Wright used it in many of his homes of the time. Many of these features were included to help insure that the building was fireproof.

The beginning of the end of the Larkin Administration Building can be traced to a press release dated October 4, 1939. In this article, J. Crate Larkin, president and treasurer of the Larkin Company, and Adam F. Eby, general retail manager, announced that the Larkin Retail Store, located at 701 Seneca Street, would move across the street to the Administration Building, because it had 25% more floor space. To allow for this, extensive remodeling began inside the administration building. The marble-looking floors were carpeted, floodlights were installed to light the central court, and partions were created on the main and second floors to create display rooms.

From the time of the remodeling until 1943, the Larkin Company's sales began to decline. They began selling off buildings on the properties they owned, until on May 24, 1943 the Larkin Building was sold. The company that bought it had no plans for the building although the Army had considered using it to house offices of the War Department.

When the Larkin Company's lease ran out nine months later, no further action was taken and the building became abandoned. The city took it over in a tax foreclosure for $104,616 on June 15, 1945. For nearly the next two years, the city marketed the building, but nobody submitted any worthwhile offers. Throughtout 1947, the building was suggested for use by various government agencies for office space or document storage, but still nothing came to fruition. By October 1947, the building was virtually unusable. Every double-paned window was broken, the iron gate had fallen off its rusted hinges, and the iron fence surrounding the building was sacrificed for a wartime scrap collection.

Various purchase options were submitted to the city by local realtors in 1948, and all those deals fell through. In April 1949, Councilman Joseph F. Dudzick suggested to the city council that the building could be used as a recreation center. Unfortunately the resolution was defeated.

Four months later, on August 20, 1949, with an assessment value of $128,960, another offer to purchase the Larkin Building was disclosed by the Hunt Business Agency for an undisclosed client. The client planned to purchase the building for $5,000, demolish it, and construct a "taxable improvement" costing "not less than 100,000" within the next year and a half.

On September 13, 1949, the Council approved the $5000 offer without even finding out with whom they were dealing. On October 8, 1949 it was revealed that the buyer was The Western Trading Corporation. The corporation estimated that it would cost $100,000 to demolish the building. It was noted that everything removable had been stripped by vandals, including twenty tons of copper, light fixtures, door knobs, plumbing, and even the boards used to keep the vandals out. Final sale was made on November 15,1949.

Even though the Larkin Building was vacant for seven years, public outcry began only after demolition announcements were made. Demolition of the Larkin Administration Building by the Morris and Reimann wrecking contractors of Buffalo began in late February 1950 and was completed in July 1950. The extrodinarily long period of time for demolition was due to the fact that the building was "built to last forever." The floors of each story were made of ten-inch thick reinforced concrete in slabs seventeen feet wide and thirty-four feet long. The floors were supported by twenty-four inch steel beams, which are now shoring up coal mines in West Virginia, and the bricks and stone were used to fill the Ohio Basin.

One year after demolition in May 1951, the Western Trading Company announced pans to build a truck terminal on the site. On November 24, 1951, the Western Trading Company petitioned the Common Council to allow them to change the site of their proposed truck terminal from the Larkin site to a lot at Elk and Dole Streets, because "it was less crowded." They also stated that if they did build on the Larkin site, a valuable parking lot for the customers and employees of the Larkin Terminal Warehouse would be lost. Three days later, the Common Council agreed to the proposal and now a parking lot now stands on the site of Frank Lloyd Wright's greatest contribution to Buffalo.

The last remaining pillar of the Larkin Company Office building had been crumbling for years. Wright fans had been chipping away at it to get authentic bricks. The only way to stop this was to restore the pillar in a way that made it finished and complete. The pillar was dedicated during the Larkin Expo in early August of 2003 and a plaque was added later commemorating this once great building.

NoteAdd a Log Entry

CACHE LOGS - May contain hints(spoilers)!    decode

I found it! 30 Jul 2006 by  mickemt  (Finds: 172  Score: 590.5)    (Hidden: 71  Score: 266)
    Open Log:  Unrestricted

Well cammoed hiding spot! Thanks for bringing the history of this place to light!

I found it! 22 Apr 2006 by  WhiteUrkel  (Finds: 172  Score: 635)    (Hidden: 40  Score: 156)
    Open Log:  Personal use only

This one took me a few minutes to find, but nothing too crazy. Got the clue, and moving on. Thanks, Rayman.

I found it! 20 Apr 2006 by  HuckleBuckle  (Finds: 77  Score: 273.5)    (Hidden: 67  Score: 223.5)
    Open Log:  Personal use only

Nice series. This one was trickier than the first FLW cache. Luckily GadgetCHC found the cache after a little while. Thanks for showing the history, Ray.

I found it! 17 Apr 2006 by  Mr_Z  (Finds: 85  Score: 308.5)    (Hidden: 0  Score: 0)
    Open Log:  Unrestricted

A quick stop on the way to work. Thanks for the series.

Note 16 Apr 2006 by  Cayuga Crew  (Finds: 79  Score: 296.5)    (Hidden: 2  Score: 8)
    Open Log:  Personal use only

Went out and grabbed this one between Easter Brunch and Easter dinner. I guess we are in for the series and are looking forward to more.


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