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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Dorothy Riester House and Studio
Reference Number 14000066
State New York
County Madison
Town Cazenovia
Street Address 3883 Stone Quarry Road
Multiple Property Submission Name N/a
Status Listed 3/19/2014
Areas of Significance Architecture, Art
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The Dorothy Riester House and Studio is significant under Criterion C as a highly intact example of a midtwentieth century modern house and artist studio located in the Town of Cazenovia that reflect the artistic vision of the well-known regional sculptor, Dorothy Riester. Designed and constructed in 1959-60 by its owners, Robert and Dorothy Riester, with the help of local contractors Dan McCabe, Gordon Bowers, and Sam Flatt, the building exemplifies mid-century house design with its use of common, ready-made materials and prominent front-gable massing, large expanses of windows, and open interior plan. However, unlike a typical mid-century house, the building also incorporates elements of Dorothy Riester's sculptural background and her desire to integrate nature into her art. Personally involved in the hands-on design and construction of the house, Riester approached the building as a sort of large-scale, livable sculpture. While the basic house form is typical for many mid-twentieth century houses, elements such as the sculptural concrete fireplace wall, textured barn board interior walls, and a sand cast wall with embossed patterns and imbedded trinkets are highly individualistic and relate directly to Dorothy's artistic viewpoint. Originally conceived as a pastoral summer retreat, the house became the Riesters' primary residence in 1965. In addition to the residence, the Riesters also added a studio building and library, both individualistic expressions of Dorothy's artistic perspective. The period of significance for the Dorothy Riester House and Studio begins with the initial construction of the house in 1959 and concludes with the erection of the last building associated with the property as a private residence, the ca. 1970 Art Barn. While Dorothy continued her sculpting career until relatively recently, the period of significance also corresponds to her most productive era, at a time when the property was their private residence.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria