You'll find links to a three-part tour of Mount Hope's trees, plus our "Mount Hope Moments" -- digital vignettes based on research into Mount Hope's rich cultural history.

New Video:

Raising Stones:
An Interview with Bill Yager
Stone Restoration Specialist
by Tom Jones and Chris Grooms

Visit our Online Programs Page to find links to all of the Friends online initiatives, including presentations recorded at the Rochester Public Library, available on the Central Libary's YouTube channel.


brilliant red maple

Interested in Mount Hope Cemetery's trees?

Hop on the plantsmap website ( -- a website that hosts botanical collections) and search "fomh".  Then navigate to different plants and collections  identified in the cemetery. more...

Tulip tree flowers and leaves

Lucy Colman portraitL Colman grave site

July 26th is your special day!

Please know that you have many admirers among the Friends of Mount Hope. Ever since the publication of Sophia McRae's outstanding article about your life in the Epitaph Fall and Winter 2020 issue, we have become ardent Lucy Colman fans!

Lucy Colman was an educator, writer, and prolific social reformer who was actively involved in the abolitionist, women's suffrage, and Freethought movements. She also worked for racial justice and for the education of African Americans. Her hidden, broken-down gravesite in Section M was discovered several years ago by Anna Jannes, and we are now restoring her grave thanks to a grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation. This project is led by Tom Jones. 2020 will be a banner year for LNC!

Please address mail correspondence to:Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery
P.O. Box 18713,
Rochester, NY 14618-0713

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Visit our CALENDAR for a quick scan of upcoming tours and events.


flowering cradle graves overhead shotThe Cemetery is in BLOOM!

Thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers, the historic cradle graves of Mount Hope Cemetery are being restored and replanted. Our cradle grave program, which began in 2019 with about 25 cradle graves in the north part of the cemetery, has expanded this year to the south section as well.  Currently we have more than 80 cradle graves planted, with over 100 volunteers working on this project.

Our Mount Hope cradle graves were originally built by German immigrants.  Germans were Rochester's largest immigrant group, and people relocating in Rochester and leaving behind their lives in Europe tried to retain many of their family customs, which included cradle graves. 

During the 1800s until the  mid 1900s, families would visit Mount Hope regularly and tend to their family graves.  At Mount Hope our oldest cradle graves were built in the 1840s (the cemetery opened in 1838), and the most recent ones in the 1940s. As customs changed and family members left the area, cradle graves deteriorated.

Our cradle graves reflect the affluence of the families who built them. Many are ornate, made of precious stone, and are pieces of art. Others were constructed simply by families who were middle class. Each was thoughtfully designed and marks the grave of a family member, adult or child, who was deeply loved.

In spring, 2020, FOMH president Pat Corcoran led an effort to uncover neglected cradle graves throughout the cemetery and find volunteers who would restore the gardens. Many of the graves were in disarray and needed to be rebuilt from scratch to ensure that they would be safe for gardeners to work in. Some of these graves were repaired by talented volunteers, and some more challenging graves needed to be repaired professionally. A 2020 cradle grave grant along with 2019 FOMH funds allowed us to repair many cradle graves, so that we could accommodate the long list of volunteers on our waiting list.

planted cradle gravesGardeners at Mount Hope are encouraged to be as creative as they would like. We recommend drought resistant plants which are not attractive to our deer and groundhog residents. Being that this is our second year, we are still in the process of identifying which plants are ideal for our climate and conditions. We have a wonderful mixture of master and amateur gardeners, all combining their time and talents to make our cemetery bloom. Cradle gravers generously buy their own flowers and supplies and keep their graves watered, which is a challenging task. Like a family, our gardeners are happy to reach out to each other for help or advice.

Kirstein gravestoneMany gardeners are researching the history of their cradle grave families and have found some interesting stories. For example, Edward Kirstein (1825-1894) came to Rochester in 1848 from Germany and founded the optical company Edward Kirstein & Sons Optical.  He married Jeanette (1832-1914) and had six children. Son Louis rose to international prominence as a retailer and philanthropist. He lived in Boston and became Vice President of Filene's & Sons. 

Kirstein cradle gravesRight next to the lovely cradle graves of Edward and Jeanette are the cradle graves of their son Henry and his wife, Fannie Solomon. Son Henry stayed close to home, took over the optical business and changed the name to Shur-On Optical. During the 1950s, Shur-On was the largest independent optical manufacturer in the country.

The Kirstein BuildingThe Kirstein Building at 242 Andrews Street was constructed to serve as company headquarters in 1909. The company continued to use the building for offices and production until 1965. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Today it is known as Kirstein Lofts, and is home to 25 luxury residential lofts and commercial space.

In our next cradle grave article, we will profile some of our volunteers and show pictures of their gardens.

Click on Genealogical Services to find information about  assistance offered by Friends volunteers.

Visit our 
DONATIONS PAGE to see how you can benefit the Friends each time you make a purchase through Amazon.