Family firm thrives on manufacturing terra cotta tiles for historic restoration projects

Boston Valley Terra Cotta, in Orchard Park, New York, was established by the Krouse family in 1981 following the purchase of Boston Valley Pottery, a company that had been in existence since 1889.  Boston Valley manufactures tiles for both restoration and new construction projects.

Originally a brick manufacturing facility and later a clay pot manufacturer, Boston Valley Pottery was converted to an architectural terra cotta facility by the Krouses. Utilizing both superior terra cotta engineering knowledge and sculpting talent, Boston Valley Terra Cotta has become one of the leading manufacturers of architectural terra cotta in the country.

Vault and arch system by Rafael Guastavino.
Photo credit: Boston Valley.

Boston Valley’s first project was the restoration of the Guaranty Building, a Louis Sullivan building in Buffalo, New York. Since that time, the company has been awarded contracts for some of the most notable buildings around the country.

To date, over 1500 contracts have been carried out to completion. The Boston Valley facility has grown into a state-of-the-art operation with 170,000 square feet of work space and over 150 employees, operating two shifts per day. Its management team has over 30 years of experience in design engineering, drafting, model and mold making, clay body and glaze development, and customer service.

Boston Valley Terra Cotta is proud to carry on the legacy of Spanish architect, engineer, and builder Raphael Guastavino and his vault system. This ancient technology–which Gustavino based on ancient Catalan designs, popularizing its use in the late 1800s–still has a place in today’s architecture.

The Guastavino tile system pictured above uses layers of terra cotta tiles set in a herringbone pattern in Portland cement. This vault and arch system became very popular in many major U.S. cities at the turn of the century because terra cotta is non-combustible, and because the system is lighter in weight and was less expensive than other vault construction practices of the time.

Boston Valley provided Guastavino tiles for the restoration of two of Raphael Guastavino’s famous constructions – the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal (pictured here) and the Queensboro Bridge, both in New York City. Tiles were also provided for restoration projects at the Louisiana State Capitol and West Point Academy’s entry gate moat.

A typical project just got underway in March of 2017: the restoration of the historic Capitol Theatre in Flint, Michigan. Boston Valley tiles will help recreate the beautiful atmospheric-style theater from the late 1920’s. The Capitol Theatre was originally built in 1928 for the W.S. Butterfield chain of theaters. The new ownership team of Uptown Investment Corp. and Whiting Co. plan to reopen the theater as a performing arts center.

Restoration of the Hispano-Italian style exterior is being undertaken by Grunwell-Cashero with whom Boston Valley Terra Cotta is working with to replicate the ornate terra cotta units. New units for the one-of-a-kind 6-foot tall bracket shown below are being made with the aid of Boston Valley Terra Cotta’s 5-axis CNC machine. The massive assembly, including scroll and leaf details, was carved in several pieces of high-density foam from which molds will be cast.

See Boston Valley website.

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