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‘Hilltop’ in Caz to become state and federal historic site

“Hilltop,” the Dorothy Riester house and art studio in the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, soon will be added to both the State and National Registers of Historic Places

“Hilltop,” the Dorothy Riester house and art studio in the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, soon will be added to both the State and National Registers of Historic Places

— “Hilltop,” the Dorothy Riester house and art studio in the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, soon will be added to both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, according to an announcement from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

It was one of 33 properties the New York State Board for Historic Preservation last week recommended for inclusion to the two historic registers — and the only park in Madison County.

“This is a big deal, [but] for me it’s a recognition of Dorothy Riester,” said John Hunt, president of the SQHAP board of directors. “The studio is part of it too, along with the house — the state felt it important that the studio be included in the petition. So it’s really around Dorothy’s creation of the facility and her works.”

“Hilltop” was constructed in 1959-60 by Dorothy and Robert Riester. The building “incorporates elements of sculptor Dorothy Riester’s artistic background, including the sculptural concrete fireplace wall, textured barn board interior walls and a sand cast wall with embossed patterns and imbedded trinkets,” according to the press release.

Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, which consists of 104 acres of land and over four miles of hiking trails, is one of the first outdoor sculpture parks in the country. Its mission is to educate and engage the public through exhibitions, collections, interpretation and community outreach programs in the arts.

In 2011, the art park was rated as one of the top 10 sculpture parks in the world by National Geographic.

The SQHAP board began work two years ago to look into the requirements to apply for recognition as a state historic site, Hunt said.

“We were looking simply for the recognition. We felt it was a historic place and cultural mecca in the community,” he said. Also, he said, Riester herself, now 97 years-old, was beginning to ask the board if the house could be added to the historic register.

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