Senator Stachowski Awards Roycroft Powerhouse $350,000 Grant
July 29, 2009
East Aurora, NY – The Roycroft Campus Corporation (RCC) is pleased to announce that a $350,000 grant has been awarded by New York State Senator William Stachowski (D 58th) for the reconstruction of the Roycroft Power House located on the National Historic Landmark, Roycroft Campus. The cost to reconstruct the Power House has been estimated at $3.5 million – part of Phase I projects for the RCC. Other projects in this phase include the restoration of the Copper Shop and enhancing the functionality of the Campus grounds. Phase I projects are estimated to cost approximately $7 million. With the National Trust Conference scheduled to occur in the Buffalo area in 2011, the RCC hopes to have the Phase I projects completed.
With the development plans and approvals to reconstruct the Power House completed, the State funding will allow the RCC to begin finalizing construction documents. New York State Senator William T. Stachowski (D 58th) secured the funding and was on hand for the announcement. “I am proud to have played a role in the reconstruction of the Roycroft Power House and in turn the historic Roycroft Campus,” said Senator Stachowski. “This national landmark needs to be protected and cherished by both the public and private sectors as a regional treasure. It is my hope that the grant announced today will be a stimulus for future funding and I will continue to fight for a bright future for the entire Roycroft Campus.”
Purchased by the RCC in 2005, the Power House suffered a devastating fire in 1997 and further deterioration occurred with the collapse of two exterior walls. It was built in 1910 and provided heat and electricity to the Campus buildings through an underground system. Once reconstructed, the RCC plans to move operations to the Power House and begin the restoration of the Copper Shop.
The RCC, formally named the Roycroft Revitalization Corporation, facilitated the restoration and reopening of the Roycroft Inn in 1995. In 2005, RCC adopted a new mission – to restore and preserve the rest of the Roycroft Campus, to adopt the philosophies, arts, and businesses of the Roycrofters, to develop educational and interpretive programming, and to support artisans. The Copper Shop and the Power House were both purchased in 2005 with the intention to reconstruct the Power House as the RCC’s first project. “The Roycroft Campus Corporation has felt that the community has been patient with the condition of the Power House long enough”, said Interim President, Kenneth Swanekamp, “and wants to return it to the community as a historic property that they can be proud of”. Further he added, “The Roycroft Campus is the only authentic Arts & Crafts Campus in the country, and we are pleased that the State Senate supports RCC’s mission”.
Christine Peters, RCC Executive Director stated that, “the Roycroft Campus is an economic driver for the community as well as for Western New York. It is anticipated that about 300 jobs will be created with the eventual development of the Campus and programming. In addition, shops, restaurants and other visitor services providers will benefit”. Currently, more than 150,000 people visit the Roycroft Campus with over 53% coming from 30 miles or more.
The RCC offers over 50 classes and lectures throughout the year, as well as tours and demonstrations. Customized tours and educational activities are often planned for Arts & Crafts enthusiasts of all ages. The Roycroft Copper Shop Gallery showcases and supports over 90 artisans where their hand-made works are sold.
East Aurora, New York, as a destination, is rich in attractions – from gallery exhibits, museums, and festivals to unique shops that showcase the best reproductions of Roycroft Arts and Crafts pieces. As the distinguished centerpiece of East Aurora, and as an appealing destination among the historical treasures of Western New York, the renowned and National Historic Roycroft Campus, once again beckons the world to come and enjoy the Roycroft experience.
The New York Times has ranked the Roycroft Campus as a destination among the major culturals in Western New York and the New York Post has called the Campus a “key piece of the puzzle” for those interested in the Arts & Crafts Movement.
ABOUT ELBERT HUBBARD AND THE ROYCROFT CAMPUS
Over 100 years ago, the Roycroft community was established in the village of East Aurora, New York, by Elbert Hubbard, a wealthy executive in a Buffalo soap and mail-order company who decided, at the age of 36, to leave this business in order to become a writer. What began as a modest printing establishment in 1895 soon evolved in to a community of over 500 artists, craftsmen, and other workers who were drawn together by Hubbard’s charisma, the congenial atmosphere, social & artistic ideals, and the quality of life.
Writer, lecturer, philosopher, epigrammist, businessman, Innkeeper and encourager of Arts & Crafts, Hubbard and his wife Alice were taken before their time. The buildings stand as a monument to Hubbard as a reminder of what he started and what should be continued. As Hubbard was growing up, he adopted the philosophy he would later put into works and practices, that is – “Fences are only for those who cannot fly!” He dared to dream of something beyond soap sales. He ignored the fences of comfort and convention, and flew to pursue his dream in the center of East Aurora.
The Roycroft Campus Corporation continues to learn from the “fences” philosophy of Hubbard in creating a center for working and aspiring artisans, the visual and performing arts, the Roycroft businesses, and the quality of life values that the Roycrofters once enjoyed.