Photo courtesy Richard Margolis
Hillside Cemetery and Chapel
NYS Route 237 and South Holley Road
Town of Clarendon, Orleans County
Located just outside the village of Holley, Hillside Cemetery is an active town cemetery established in 1866 and developed between 1866 and 1938. The cemetery encompasses approximately 30 acres in the northeast part of the town of Clarendon, just south of the village of Holley. It is significant as a distinctive example of cemetery design combining two important expressions of 19th and 20th century cemetery landscape types: the rural “picturesque” design with terraces and the later lawn-park cemetery style, with a more open, park-like landscape than the picturesque rural design. Notable examples of cemetery art and iconography can be found in the statuary monuments and family plots throughout the cemetery.
Built in 1894, an elegant Gothic Revival style chapel is prominently located near the entrance on the west side of South Holley Road and is a primary feature of the cemetery. Originally constructed for burial services at the Cemetery, the chapel was designed by Rochester architect Addison Forbes and features Medina stone construction, a slate roof, and decorative glass windows. Forbes’ work in the region includes the Morton Baptist Church, the First Baptist and St. Paul’s Episcopal churches in Holley, and the United Methodist Church in Adams Basin. Forbes designed the cemetery chapel in the Gothic Revival style, commonly used for churches in the United States beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and seen as fitting with the picturesque natural landscape of the cemetery.
Located prominently at the southern gateway into the village, the Cemetery and Chapel are major visual landmarks in the County. The Chapel in particular is an excellent example of Gothic Revival architecture that provided a practical and efficient solution to times when graveside services were impossible (winter, inclement weather, etc.) with its large underground receiving vault. Although vacant since the 1960s, its exceptional architectural and historic significance, combined with its highly visible location, make it an important candidate for revitalization and re-use.
The Hillside Cemetery and Chapel are important examples of historic landscape architecture and building architecture in Orleans County. They are highly visible resources at the southern gateway into the village of Holley. With such historic and architectural significance, the Hillside Cemetery and Chapel could, with proper funding and maintenance, serve as attractive assets in the Clarendon and Holley communities.