The board of directors of the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park has announced that “Hilltop House,” the former home of Dorothy and Bob Riester, and the studio used by Dorothy for much of her work, have recently been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, as notified by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (SHPO). The house was designed by Dorothy and Robert Riester in 1959, with the construction completed in 1960.
The National Register is the nation’s official list of properties worthy of preservation. Listing on the National Register recognizes the importance of these properties in the history of our country.
“We are delighted that the National Register recognizes the significance of the house and studio in the establishment of the Art Park, and the impact the Art Park has had on regional, State, and National art communities. That this recognition comes during National Preservation Month is both appropriate and exciting,” said John Hunt, president of the SQHAP Board. The properties had been nominated by SHPO this past November and had been awaiting the decision by the Federal offices of the National Register.
Originally, the house was built on a 23-acre lot purchased in 1959. That lot was part of an original lot purchased by Mary Hackney in 1803. Over the years, the Riesters added parcels, acquiring all of the original Hackney property plus that of the Stone Quarry for which the road is named, as well as additional adjacent properties, to where it now encompasses 104 acres.
In her book, “The Art and the Land,” Dorothy Riester wrote, “I designed the house to be a summer place, to be small with low maintenance, and to incorporate and be part of the landscape. The house would be shaped like a cone on its side two stories high on the northwest front, with a curving façade that generally would follow the contour line of the hill. … The converging line of the home’s walls would be continued visually by a sightline along a garden path to a pond, a tree row, and a view of the southern hills. The house was to be built of affordable, common materials: concrete block, plywood, standard windows and fixtures.”