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Hillcrest Jephson estate now protected under CPF easement

— The historic Hillcrest Jephson estate on Ridge Road is protected by deed restrictions and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and now seven acres of the estate as well as the four buildings on the property have been preserved against future development through an easement that the current owners have donated to the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation.

The easement means that the appearance of the landscape and exterior architecture of the estate buildings will remain unchanged for future generations.

“My husband and I feel very protective of the property and want it to live on long after we do,” said current owner Linda Osborne. “This is a way of kind of giving it to the community, it’s not just our property now; it’s the community’s.”

The Hillcrest Jephson estate on Ridge Road was built in 1905 by Robert Benson Davis, founder of the R. B. Davis Baking Powder Co. Following his death in 1920, Davis willed his fortune and estate to his daughter, Lucretia, whose husband, George Shipman Jephson, served as president of the company. Lucretia Davis Jephson, a philanthropist, lived on the estate until her death in 1979.

The Queen Anne Victorian House — famous for its highly visible three-story tower — sits on 8.2 acres overlooking Cazenovia Lake. The estate includes the original carriage house, guest house and ice house.

Linda and Brian Osborne bought the property in 2012 hoping to create a bed and breakfast, but deed restrictions prevented it. Instead, the Osbornes now offer their historic home as a location for the community to hold charitable events.

The Osbornes began the easement process in summer 2013. An easement is a legal document between a property owner and a qualified government or non-profit organization that restricts future activities on the property to protect specific values. The property owner continues to own and use the property but relinquishes certain rights in the greater interest of preserving it.

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