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Frank Lloyd Wright was relatively unknown before he came to Buffalo in 1903 and found a vibrant city eager to embrace his architectural talents.

The work he did here, including the Darwin M. Martin House, one of his greatest Prairie Style homes, and the Larkin Administration Building, "changed the way Buffalo and the world looked at design," the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society notes in prefacing "The Wright Way: New Designs for a New Century."

The exhibit, which opens today, explores Wright's Buffalo creations in the context of turn-of-the-century design.

Artifacts and photographs not only illustrate his plans but contrast them with more traditional styles of that era -- Victorian, neoclassic and beaux arts. Side by side with Wright are H.H. Richardson, Louis Sullivan, E.B. Green and their contemporaries in the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Included in the exhibit, which will run through January, are such artifacts as a Tree of Life Window and barrel-style chair from the Martin House and an Ali Baba bench made by a Roycroft artisan of that name.

Complementing the program will be a kiosk display about Larkin Co., once a major producer of soap and food for the mail order trade.

Featuring photographs, artifacts and papers from the museum collection, it tells of the company's rise as a world leader in the business during the late 1800s and its demise in the latter part of the 20th century.

Of particular interest are plans and photographs of Wright's Larkin Administration Building, which revolutionized office design but was razed in 1950.

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