Rochester ReLeaf Beckons: Mount Hope Cemetery

One of the tour options for ReLeaf 2018 in Rochester (July 26-28) is the sublime Mount Hope Cemetery. If you can’t make the tour, you can visit this public cemetery at another time during your stay in Rochester. 

Dedicated in 1838 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, Mount Hope Cemetery is the oldest municipally operated Victorian cemetery in the United States. Mount Hope is a rare example of rural Victorian cemetery design, a uniquely preserved urban park, a year round recreational resource and arboretum, a historic outdoor museum and, often most notably, the final resting place of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony.

The Cemetery is situated on Mount Hope Avenue on 196 acres of land adjacent to the University of Rochester. The geology of Mount Hope is complemented by the original forest in which Mount Hope’s design carefully took shape. Mount Hope has more than 2000 inventoried trees, many of them mature. In 2009, more than 20% of the trees in Mount Hope were characterized as historic, including 250-year-old native oak trees as well as rare specimen trees gifted to the Cemetery in 1848 by famed 19th-century horticulturists George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry. 

Mount Hope is listed in the New York State Register of Historic Places and National Register of Historic Places. It features 83 mausoleums, soaring Egyptian obelisks, a Florentine cast-iron fountain, two stone chapels in Gothic Revival style, a Moorish gazebo, a Victorian Gothic gatehouse, and infinitely varied tombstones marking 350,000 graves. The cemetery is also a National Wildlife Federation Certified Habitat and a historic site on Rochester’s portion of the Genesee Riverway Trail. 

The Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, established in 1980, have served alongside the City of Rochester as stewards of Mount Hope Cemetery. The Friends have advocated and lobbied for New York State and federal investment in Mount Hope, as well as leveraged private support.  Grants, obtained by both partners, include support from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, the Preservation League of New York State, the Rochester Area Community Foundation, the Davenport Hatch Foundation, Eastman Kodak Charitable Trust, the New York State Quality Communities Program, and the federal Save America’s Treasures program.

-Info Courtesy City of Rochester and Landmark Society of Western NY 

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