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Roycroft Print Shop
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Click on illustrations to enlarge

Half-timbering


Crenelated tower made of local field stones



Leaded glass windows

Now the home of the Erie County Farm and Home Center

Typical door on the campus

Detail from previous photo

Arts & Crafts style staircase

Arts & Crafts style newel post

Mission style settle

 

Arts & Crafts style mantlepiece

Detail from previous photo

Arts & Crafts style andirons

 

In order to obtain the quantity of rusticated building materials required to fabricate the Chapel, Elbert Hubbard advertised in the village newspaper for unwanted boulders from local farmers' fields. As word of Hubbard's offer spread, rock-laden wagons began arriving from every direction. As a result Hubbard instructed his Roycroft handyman, Ali Baba, to sit at the comer of South Grove and Main Streets and pay one silver dollar for each approved load. Over time, Ali Baba paid out over fifteen hundred of the silver coins in exchange for boulders that eventually built not only the Chapel, but the Print Shop and the Blacksmith Shop as well.

The need to expand the Roycroft printing operation was directly attributable to the immediate and continuing demand for Elbert Hubbard's "A Message to Garcia," an essay which first appeared in the March 1899 edition of The Philistine magazine.

Accordingly, groundbreaking for the new facility began in October of that year, which occupancy taking place in early 1901. Upon completion of the building, both the printing and binding operations were located here from the first shop in the original portion of the Roycroft Inn.

This English Tudor styled building was created in the manner of a half-timbered, medieval-inspired structure with a square crenelated tower central to its "L"shaped construction.

Architectural touches included motto-carved oak entry doors and window headers within the tower portion of the building.

The technical layout of the shop was divided by floors, with most of the presses housed in the basement, composing and proofreading situated on the main floor and collating, folding, binding and mailing located on the second floor alongside the ballroom which eventually became working quarters as well. Both Elbert and Alice Hubbard maintained office in the Print Shop, with Elbert choosing to relocate to the tower portion of the building in the 191O's. In 1907, the third floor of the Print Shop tower served as a studio for designer and artisan Dard Hunter, as well as other Roycroft artists and advertising staff members. By 1914, the Print Shop boasted an equipment inventory of twenty-three printing presses and material usage of more imported handmade paper than all other American printing institutions combined.

Cy Rosen served as the Roycroft's first printer and during the forty-three year history of the press, Alex and Emil Sahlin became known as two of the operation's best typographers. Experienced pressmen, shop foremen and superintendents on the employee roster included, Oliver Bailey, Charles Faber, John Hall, Lyle Hawthorne, A.V. Ingham and Louis Schell.

When photography was incorporated into printing, William Dalzall became the photogravure superintendent. Roycroft magazine editors included John Hoyle and Edward (Felix) Shay. The advertising manager was Milton Feesley.

Master bookbinders, who worked under the direction of Louis Kinder in the Print Shop, and later in the Furniture Shop building as it became the Bindery in 1907, included: Harry Avery, Peter Franck, John Grabau, Walter Jennings, Frederick Kranz, Sterling Lord, Lorenz Schwartz and Charles and Fred Youngers. These individuals have become nationally acknowledged for executing some of the finest hand tooled gold gilt bindings in America.

Production of the many and varied Roycroft magazines and booklets were carried out in the binding-stitching department by a female work force, under the supervision of Sophia Conrad and Emma Lang. Frederick Kranz's initiation of modeled leather bookbindings circa 1903 led to the production of a modeled leather product line which evolved into a separate department, eventually located in the Furniture Shop.

The immense job of shipping, which many times amassed into daily truck loads of outgoing mail, was handled, in part, by supervisors Emma Lang and Ernest Simmons and transported by drivers Philip Dearmyer and George Weaver.

The Roycroft Shops total work force over the years, numbered 3 in 1895, 20 in 1897, approximately 50 in 1898, 175 by 1900, nearly 300 in 1901 and over 500 in its later prime years.

The entire Roycroft campus has the highest possible historic designation: National Historic Landmark.

The nomination for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, containing text and illustrations, is online.
Go to Document Imaging for National Register. Click on "Basic Criteria" and scroll down to "County - Erie." Then, click on "Results."


Special thanks to Christine Peters of the Roycroft Restoration Corp. and Susan Scholterer of the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau for making research material available in 2006
Photos and their arrangement 2007 Chuck LaChiusa
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