Unveiling of Delaware Park’s Restored Grand Staircase

The AKG Art Museum experience is a lot more than the a complex of buildings, gallery spaces, the great Lawn, etc. The Museum experience extends outwards into the Delaware Park, which is the ideal setting (and backdrop) for the newly enhanced cultural destination.

Over the years, the connection between the Museum and Delaware Park has deteriorated. I’m mainly talking about the poor condition of Delaware Park’s Grand Staircase that connects Gala Waters (Hoyt Lake) to Lincoln Parkway, which in turn extends to the Gallery.

This past Friday, it was announced that Grand Staircase, envisioned and designed by the Olmsted Firm, in collaboration with famed Buffalo architect E.B. Green (as part of Green’s Albright Art Gallery), has been immaculately restored. The restored staircase beautifully mirrors the AKG Art Museum’s own set of historic steps.

Restored staircase | Photos courtesy Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

“We are grateful and excited to officially announce that the restoration of the Grand Staircase in Delaware Park is now complete,” said Beth Downing, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Interim Executive Director. “Thank you to the generous support of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, The Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, and every private donor for making this project possible. We hope every park user enjoys this beautifully restored space.”

Although the art gallery building wasn’t completed until 1906, the stairway visually connected other impressive Pan-Am features, including:

  • The Buffalo History Museum (then the New York State Building)
  • The Bridge of the Three Americas
  • A boathouse (now Marcy Casino)
  • All integral public components found on the lake side of Delaware Park

The restoration of the Grand Staircase included the following elements:

  • Disassembly of original granite stones to inspect the foundation
  • Reconstruction of the foundation and substructure of the steps
  • Restoration and cleaning of original granite stones for reuse, while sourcing suitable restoration grade stones for those sections that were beyond repair
  • Reassembly of the stonework with professional masonry and repointing

Now, can we get the lion sculptures replaced on the nearby Elmwood Bridge (in some form), downgrade the expressways into boulevards ASAP, and restore Scajaquada Creek? These are all part of the grander vision that will exponentially elevate the AKG Art Museum and Delaware Park experiences, by restoring the original design standards that were put forth by the respective masters of their trades.

Photo by Ian Ott | From left to right: Jonathan Rivera, New York State Assembly Member 149th District | Janne Sirén, PhD, Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director, Buffalo AKG | Lisa Chimera, Erie County Deputy County Executive and Niagara River Greenway Commission member | Sean M. Ryan, New York State Senator, District 61 | Joel P. Feroleto, City of Buffalo Common Council Member, Delaware District | Daniel Castle, Chair, The Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee | Kevin Kelly, BOPC Trustee | Carol Sampson, Community Relations Representative, New York Power Authority | Ba Zan Lin, Community Impact Associate Vice President, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo | Beth Downing, BOPC Interim Executive Director | Dr. Norman Lewin, BOPC Trustee

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