Hillside Cemetery gets historical due

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2013 at 12:00 am
Hillside Cemetery

Photo by Tom Rivers – Hillside Cemetery in Holley, located at the corner of Route 237 and South Holley Road, has been approved for listing on the New York State Register of Historic Places. Next month it may be added to the national list. The cemetery includes a sandstone chapel built in 1894 in the Gothic Revival architecture style.

HOLLEY – State historic preservation officials are confirming what many already know in the Holley area: Hillside Cemetery is a special place.

The cemetery with 3,500 graves is a distinctive example of a Victorian style cemetery on the west side of South Holley Road. That older section includes terraces and monuments that emphasize a sentimental Victorian attitude. Across the road on the east side the cemetery reflects the open lawn-park style.

Last month the cemetery was added to the New York State Register of Historic Places. It was nominated to go on the national list. A decision is expected next month.

“The cemetery is like a mini-Mount Albion,” said Melissa Ierlan, the Clarendon code enforcement officer and cemetery manager.

She worked on the application for historic designation with town resident Erin Anheier, who wrote successful applications to land her home on Bennetts Corners Road and the “Old Stone Store” on the state and national lists.

Ierlan wanted the cemetery to be recognized, seeing the designation as a source of community pride. She also said the listings on the state and national registers should help the town’s chances to secure grant funding for repairs to a sandstone chapel from 1894. That building is the cemetery’s focal point.

The building is structurally solid, but it needs roof and window repairs that Ierlan said could exceed $150,000. She wants to see the building preserved.

“It’s like a time capsule inside there,” she said today. “If they don’t do something with it, the roof will cave in and it will be a shell of itself.”

Hillside Cemetery

Photo by Tom Rivers – The western side of the cemetery includes terraces and monuments emphasizing the sentimental Victorian attitude toward death.

Ierlan sees the town’s historical homes and the cemetery as assets that can be draws for Clarendon. She praised Anheier for her volunteer work and vision in gaining the historical status for some of the sites in Clarendon.

“We don’t want to just be a blip on the map, or one of those towns that people just drive through,” Ierlan said. “We have a lot of great history in Clarendon.”

Hillside was established in 1866 by the Holley Cemetery Association. That group disbanded in 2003 and turned the cemetery’s maintenance over to the town.

Hillside is the third cemetery in Orleans with historical recognition. Mount Albion was named to the national list in 1976 and the Millville Cemetery in Shelby was added in 2007.