The Graycliff Estate’s location reveals extensive views of Lake Erie and Canada from a cliff 65 feet above Lake Erie. The Graycliff Estate is about 20 minutes south of downtown Buffalo.
This summer estate at 6472 Old Lake Shore Road, Derby is sometimes called ‘The Jewel on the Lake’. This residential design was built between 1926 and 1931, and considered one of Frank Lloyd Wrights most ambitious and significant designs. Enduring achievements confirm the genius of his impressive career.
The estate has three buildings on 8 scenic acres with gardens all designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The main building the Isabelle R. Martin House is a two-story 6,500 square foot residence.
The Foster House was originally designed as a garage with an apartment above for a chauffeur and family. After the first summer Wright was asked to alter the garage, creating a residence for Martin’s daughter, James Foster and family. The third building is the Heat Hut.
Frank Lloyd Wright built Martin House Complex in 1903-05 prior to building the Graycliff Estate. Darwin’s wife Isabelle was uncomfortable in Martin House due to limited light, as she was nearly blind. So she asked Wright to design a house with sunlight allowing fresh breezes.
In response he created the concept of ‘organic architecture’. The long low horizontal lines of the house compliment the lake and cliff strata. It captures the warm summer light and cool lake breezes all year round.
The one-hour tour starts with the building exteriors. Then the 1st floor of the Martin House is explored with a history of The Greycliff Estate. Adult admission is $15 with reduced student rate
The two-hour tour starts with the basic tour following both floors of Martin House and Foster House. Adult admission is $30 with reduced student rate
Derby New York is a hamlet in southwest Erie County on the shore of Lake Erie. Thirteen miles south of Buffalo is the town of Hamburg with population 56,936. A number of main routes pass through Hamburg including I-90 thruway, US 20, route 62, and route 5. Erie Indians originally inhabited the area.
Angola a village with a population of 2,127 is named after the South-central African country of Angola. It is a few miles east of Lake Erie and west of I-90 Thruway with Big Sister Creek passing through the village.
The Graycliff Estate is a 90 minute drive of 88 miles from Rochester NY. Drive I-90 thruway west to Buffalo. Take the Skyway to Route 5 West. Continue on Route 5 West for approximately 15-20 minutes. Turn right onto Old Lake Shore Rd (at traffic light just past Wanakah.). Continue on Old Lake Shore Rd until you see the brown Graycliff sign on your right.
Here is one visitor’s impression of the tour.
“don't miss this hidden gem.”