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It’s official: Hillside Cemetery lands on National Register

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Cemetery in Clarendon is third in Orleans to make list

Photos by Tom Rivers – The cemetery includes a sandstone chapel that is considered an excellent example of Gothic Revival architecture.

HOLLEY – The National Park Service has put Hillside Cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places, calling the burial grounds a distinctive example of cemetery design in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The cemetery, now owned and managed by the town of Clarendon, was established in 1866 and contains 3,500 graves. The older section on the eastern side is characterized by its park-like appearance and terraced landscaping that was carved in the side of a hill.

The NPS officially added Hillside to the national list on June 25. In its report, the NPS says the cemetery monuments display symbolism common to the mid- and late-nineteenth century that emphasized the emotional and sentimental Victorian attitude toward death and commemoration.

This section of the cemetery includes a monument in memory of two Holley men who died on The Titanic in April 1912. William Doughton and Peter MCKain were quarrymen from Britain who settled in Holley. They spent the previous winter visiting relatives back home before the doomed voyage on The Titanic.

Hillside Cemetery includes a marker in memory of William Doughton and Peter McKain, two Holley quarrymen from Britain. They went home during the winter of 1912 and perished on The Titanic in April 1912.

The western portion of the cemetery, on the opposite side of South Holley Road, embodies the characteristics of the later lawn-park cemetery style, which was more open and park-like than the picturesque rural cemetery, reflecting a movement toward a more efficient use of space and improved management, according to NPS.

A centerpiece of the cemetery is a chapel in the Gothic Revival architecture style. The chapel, built in 1894, includes locally quarried Medina sandstone.

“From the chapel, both sections of the cemetery are visible, providing a sense of how attitudes toward death and burial were influenced by national trends for the people in Holley and Clarendon,” according to the statement of significance in the application to NPS.

The cemetery was named to state list of historic sites in March. The state and federal listings not only carry prestige, but could help the town secure grants to help pay for roof and window repairs at the chapel.

Two other cemeteries in Orleans County are on the National Register: Mount Albion Cemetery in Albion and Millville Cemetery in Shelby.