Fontana Boathouse in Buffalo, New York - Atlas Obscura

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Fontana Boathouse

The only boathouse Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed was also the only unbuilt structure in his famous Wasmuth Portfolio, until 2007. 

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This boathouse was commissioned in 1905 by Cudworth Beye, a friend of Frank Lloyd Wright’s, who wanted a boathouse for the University of Wisconsin crew team—in Buffalo, New York.

The structure featured Wright’s very first perfectly flat roof, and was the only boathouse he ever designed. However, a lack of budget on the students’ part led to it never being built. While Wright did finish the plans, it was never built in Wright’s or even Beye’s lifetime, and for a long time it remained the only unbuilt building in Wright’s famous Wasmuth Portfolio, a German book containing multiple works of his that first skyrocketed his popularity across the world.

Luckily, in 2007, construction began on this beautiful structure, with the assistance of one of Wright’s apprentices. Today it not only serves its original purpose as a place for a boating group (The West Side Rowing Club nowadays), but it also holds weddings and tours, about which there is more information on its website. It’s a hidden gem in the shadows of other Wright-designed buildings in Buffalo, like the Darwin D. Martin House.

Know Before You Go

The area is near Bird Island Pier near the border between the U.S and Canada, and is also extremely close to the Peace Bridge.

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June 22, 2023

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