MOUNT HOPE CEMETERY
1133 Mount Hope Avenue
Rochester, New York,
Bella Morte Rating: 5 Tombstones
For those who delight in walking through the Valley of the Shadow, we've found few better places to do so than amidst Mount Hope's stunning hills and valleys. Carved from the earth by glaciers, the cemetery's resultant topography provides visitors the opportunity to wander for hours amidst enticing eskers and kettles, each one a hiding place for the thousands of monuments which dot the grounds. Down each gravel road, up each steep incline and around each corner, new delights await.
In regard to topography, Mount Hope is very similar to another New York cemetery, Mount Albion. Although Mount Hope is, in our opinion, the more beautiful of the two cemeteries, those who enjoy one may well enjoy the other, and, as Mt. Albion lies a mere 45 minute drive to the west of Mount Hope, a visit to both cemeteries is easily accomplished.
But, back to the subject at hand... America's first municipal Victorian cemetery, Mount Hope is home to a 1912 Gothic Revival chapel, an 1875 Florentine fountain, towering obelisks, hillside crypts, and over 350,000 graves, many adorned with Victorian funerary symbols.
Famous permanent residents include suffragette Susan B. Anthony (whose gravesite, though well-manicured, disappoints with an extraordinarily plain marble stone); abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass; newspaper publisher Frank E. Gannett; John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb, founders of the Bausch & Lomb optical company; Myron Holley, builder of the Erie Canal, and writer Elizabeth Hollister Frost.
To us, however, the most captivating feature of Mount Hope is not whose mortal remains rest therein. Nor is it her mausoleums and monuments, as those are certainly not among the most remarkable we have encountered. Rather, it is the fact that her crypts and tombs are nestled amidst such wild, unkempt, yet completely idyllic grounds. The aura of peace is almost tangible as one encounters gravestones nestled in what could easily be a forest trail or woodland meadow.
One caveat: as with many cemeteries founded in the 19th century, the newer areas of the grounds are not nearly as engaging or picturesque as the older sections.
A trip through Mount Hope, whether along the fourteen and a half miles of roadway or the seemingly endless foot trails and pathways, is a gift to the spirit. It is an experience we highly encourage you to discover for yourself.