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Empire State Development, NYS Council on the Arts announce completion of restoration project on Roycroft Campus

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Wed, Jun 12th 2019 02:00 pm

Empire State Development and New York Council on the Arts announced the Roycroft Campus Corp. (RCC) has completed a $465,000 renovation of the Copper Shop located on the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora.

The campus, which is a National Historic Landmark, was home to a significant cultural movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that influenced the nation and became a destination for master craftsmen and a gathering place of notable artists, authors, philosophers and powerbrokers.

“The Roycroft Campus has played an integral role in the history of Western New York and the East Aurora community throughout the last century,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. “The restoration of the Copper Shop will be a significant boost for Erie County and our regional tourism economy. Our arts and cultural institutions are an important part of our identity here in the Buffalo Niagara Region, and a vibrant Roycroft Campus is an essential part of our future.” 

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The Roycroft Campus, a vibrant education and arts center, is one of the country’s best-preserved collection of arts and crafts movement buildings, and the Copper Shop restoration ensures that visitors to the historically rich Buffalo Niagara Region will continue to experience and enjoy this local cultural landmark.”

New York State Council on the Arts Executive Director Mara Manus said, “The Roycroft Campus is vital to Western New York’s prominence as a center of architecture and design and a rich destination for cultural tourism. NYSCA is proud to support the restoration of the Copper Shop, which has been home to hundreds of New York state artists over the past century and celebrates our state’s historic contributions to the arts and crafts movement, one of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century.”

The Copper Shop was constructed in 1902 of local stone, half-timbered and stuccoed in the style of a small English cottage. It originally served as a blacksmith shop. Two additions were added to this building to facilitate the emerging, hammered copper product line and to bottle East Aurora maple syrup and honey. Beginning in 1912, the front room served as Elbert Hubbard’s Roycroft Bank for several years.

ESD provided a Western New York Regional Economic Development $50,000 capital grant toward the reconstruction and restoration project of the Copper Shop, which houses the Roycroft Campus’ gift shop. The New York State Council on the Arts provided a $50,000 grant through its Mid-Size Capital Project Fund to support the project.

The project included:

  • Removal and replacement of existing cracked concrete slab.
  • Removal of maple flooring in the west wing of the building and replacement of subflooring and hardwood.
  • Reconfiguration of the northwest side of the west wing and removal of a fireplace in the north wing that was not original.
  • Addition of an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant bathroom.
  • Update of heating, plumbing and electrical systems.

The Copper Shop project complements another ESD supported project on the Roycroft Campus: the reconstruction and restoration of the former Power House. Completed in 2012, the Power House is now home to the visitor center, a contemporary art gallery, administrative offices, classroom and artisan demonstration space and flexible meeting and event space.

“We are grateful to have the support of New York state, and many other generous foundations, businesses and individuals from the Western New York community during this critical time of progress for the Roycroft Campus,” Executive Director Curt Maranto said. “Together, our efforts to further preserve and restore this National Historic Landmark will ensure it remains a cultural tourism destination for years to come.”

Author, lecturer and entrepreneur Elbert Hubbard developed the Roycroft Campus in 1897 in East Aurora. Modeled after the English Arts and Crafts Movement, Hubbard developed and promoted a “self-contained community,” which supported hundreds of craftspeople.

The Roycroft is an identified architectural and cultural destination site with the local Frank Lloyd Wright projects, the Darwin Martin House Complex and the Graycliff Estates, along with the Albright Knox Art Museum, and the Chautauqua Institution where Elbert Hubbard vacationed.

More information on the Roycroft Campus can be found here.

WNYREDC Chairman and SolEpoxy President Jeff Belt said, “Historians, artisans and tourists are all drawn to the beautiful Roycroft Campus. Each renovation that the REDC is able to support increases the number of people attracted to this nationally recognized cultural destination.”

New York State Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan said, “Thousands of people visit the Roycroft Campus every year, and the Copper Shop is an integral part of the unique experience. New York’s support of this project helps preserve the rich history of the campus while promoting its guiding principles of preservation, inspiration, education and restoration. The continued growth of the Roycroft Campus as a National Historic Landmark not only brings great pride to our community, it promotes local artists and helps stimulate our economy.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “We are preserving history for future generations with our investments at the Roycroft Campus, carefully restoring the floors of the historic Copper House while adding other updates and adding years to Copper House’s lifespan. This funding demonstrates our commitment to keeping these treasures well-maintained and viable for our children and grandchildren to enjoy, and to remain as a tourist attraction for generations as well.”

ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov or www.esd.ny.gov.

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