The Turtle - Native American Center for the Arts


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The Turtle - Native American Center for the Arts
The Turtle - Native American Center for the Arts



  • NFR Turtle LLC
  • NFR is Niagara Falls Redevelopment. NFR is owned by New York City real estate developers Edward and Howard Milstein. In addition to the Turtle and the former Nabisco factory, NFR and its affiliates own dozens of largely vacant parcels in a territory bordered by Portage Road, Buffalo Avenue, John B. Daly Boulevard and Niagara Street. The properties were acquired largely through purchases with private owners as part of a Master Redevelopment Agreement with the city that dates back to the late 1990s. --Niagara Falls Gazette.

Physical Description

  • Unique 3-story, 67,000-square-foot structure designed in the shape of a turtle with large glass porthole "eyes."

Current Condition

  • Vacant. Possible target for demolition.


  • Designed in 1979 by Tuscarora sculptor Duffy Wilson and Arapho architect Dennis Sun Rhodes.
  • Served for many years as Native American Center for the Living Arts, offering exhibit and lecture space in addition to a restaurant and offices.
  • Facing financial difficulties, Center for the Living Arts closed in 1995.
  • Building purchased by Niagara Turtle Corp. in 2000, a subsidiary of Niagara Falls Redevelopment.

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • 2017 - NFR Turtle, LLC. seeks height variance for a 200-foot hotel and tourist structure on the 1.67-acre site. The Turtle would be demolished. Niagara Gazette
  • August 2022 - Niagara Falls Preservation Commission to consider The Turtle for local landmark status. Buffalo News

Other Pertinent Facts

  • Design reflects Haudenosaunee legend that animals created North America on the back of a large turtle.Buffalo News


Newest Pages

Added 2022-08-30 • Last changed 2022-10-11