Efforts to restore Hillside Chapel featured at preservation conference

Staff Reports Posted 20 April 2015 at 12:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers – The chapel at Hillside Cemetery was built in 1894 and is a focal point of the cemetery, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

HOLLEY – The community’s efforts to restore the chapel at Hillside Cemetery in Clarendon was highlighted during a panel discussion during a preservation conference last week in Geneva.

The cemetery was recently included on the National Register of Historic Places and the Town of Clarendon and Clarendon Historical Society are working to secure grants to restore the Gothic Revival Chapel, which was built in 1894 from local Medina sandstone.

The chapel has been vacant and largely unused since the 1960s. Volunteers have cleaned it and are pursuing grants as well as funds from the community. Clarendon officials and volunteers were praised at the preservation for working to preserve the building before it suffers more deterioration.

Erin Anheier of Clarendon has worked to get Hillside Cemetery on the National Register, as well as helping to write other National Register applications in the community. She attended the conference in Geneva and was pleased to see the panel consider how to advance projects in smaller communities.

Photo courtesy of Erin Anheier – Panelists at the New York Statewide Preservation Conference discussed the fund-raising efforts needed to save the chapel at Hillside Cemetery. They brainstormed ways for smaller communtiies to tackle fund-raising efforts. The panelists include, from left: Cynthia Nikitin, Project for Public Spaces, Senior Vice President, Public Art Program Director; Roxanne Kise, Executive Director Western Erie Canal Alliance; Ruth Pierpont, NYS Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation, Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation/Deputy SHPO; Rick Hauser, AIA, LEED, AP, Partner In.Site:Architecture and Mayor of Village of Perry; and Wayne Goodman, Executive Director, Landmark Society of Western New York.

“The panel of seasoned experts in the fields of historic preservation, urban planning, architecture and small town revitalization, along with an audience of preservationists, brainstormed ideas for raising funds for the restoration,” Anheier said.

Wayne Goodman, Landmark Society executive director, commented that it was wise the community was addressing the building “before it was too far gone” as many communities wait until a restoration project becomes overwhelming.

All commented on the architectural significance of the building and encouraged the restoration. They particularly focused on its potential as a public space for the arts, including concerts, art exhibits, poetry readings, etc., Anheier said.

She would like to see a Sandstone Trail developed in Orleans County with the chapel serving as the eastern terminus.

Community members interested in contributing to the chapel’s fund-raising campaign can send tax deductible donations to The Clarendon Historical Society, P.O. Box 124 Clarendon, NY 14429.