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MAY 2020


Patricia Corcoran portrait shot
Saturday, May 9, 2020

Dear Friends,

On Wednesday, May 6, our Board met and passed a resolution to cancel our 2020 Tour Season, including the Torch Light Tours.

While this was a traumatic decision for us, it was our only socially responsible route during this difficult time.

We had planned an amazing tour season, which we were all looking forward to. Our plan is to postpone this tour lineup until 2021. Hopefully we will be able to return to some normalcy by that time.

In the meantime, we have organized a committee to explore digital opportunities to distribute on our YouTube channel as well as general outreach to our members within state and local guidelines for social distancing. We will continue to communicate with you via this website.

Many thanks for your loyalty to the FOMH. While our tour program is the heart of our organization, we are flexible and will continue to fulfill our mission in new and creative ways.

COVID 19 has not slowed down our restoration activities, which are funded with membership dues and grants. As you stroll through the cemetery, you will see evidence of our many restoration projects. 

This year your membership renewal is more important than ever to keep our restoration program alive. We appreciate your ongoing financial support through your membership dues.

We will stay in touch...Each of you is important to us and to our mission.


Patricia Corcoran, President
Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery

"Innovation and inspiration are the cure for despair."
-- Rachel Maddow


GE Values Vets logoOn Thursday, May 21, General Electric employees and veterans Tyler Ekwell (US Marine Corps), Ron Kerst (US Air Force), Kris Dytche (US Marine Corps), Steve Nichols (US Army, and Bret Robison (US Navy) placed over 500 flags on the graves of the Spanish-American War and WW1 veterans at Mount Hope Cemetery. The GE MDS GE Veterans Network (GEVN) group has done this for several years, and we are grateful.

GE Veterans Network team with flags     GE team placing flags

Tom Jones, Dennis Carr, and I from the FOMH had the opportunity to interview these men and hear about their military history. We were in awe of their service all over the world, their patriotism, and appreciation for how military service had given them the skills which are so valued in their current work in General Electric.

While these men came to Mount Hope to honor veterans of yesteryear, we at the FOMH pay tribute to each of them and their service to our country. They made us proud to be American.

Pat Corcoran FOMH

APRIL 2020

Lecture Series at the Downtown Rochester Central Library

C Conway portrait shot

"Mount Hope Cemetery: An Artistic Legacy"(Online)
Presented by Christopher C. Conway

Saturday, May 9, 2020
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Registrants received a link to the ZOOM meeting in an email an hour before the program start. 
Sign Language interpreters were provided.

The public was invited to join the Monroe County Library System, the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, and Christopher C. Conway to explore a selection of artistic works found throughout the cemetery, and an introduction to the artists responsible for them. 

The program highlighted works of architecture, sculpture, and decorative design that make Mount Hope an unexpected, exceptional and serendipitous public, open-air museum.

Viewers also learned about the lives and work of a number of artists, and of local patrons and supporters of Rochester's arts community, who have found final rest amid the natural splendor of America's oldest municipal, rural, Victorian cemetery.

Christopher C. Conway, a native of rural East Texas, grew up in the greater Houston area. He traded the Gulf Coast for the Pacific Northwest and, for the whole of the 1990s, called Seattle, WA home. He happily made his way to Rochester in 2017 -- and has yet to try a Garbage Plate.

Chris holds a BA in art history from the University of Houston and is currently employed as an Exhibitions Assistant at the Memorial Art Gallery. He looks constantly to indulge a life-long love of travel and theater. You may well catch, if you've not already caught, an occasional glimpse of him on Rochester's local stages.


We invite our friends to adopt a cradle grave at Mount Hope. This is a great time to select a grave and start working on getting it prepared for the planting season.

        cradle graves planted with flowers   cradle graves needing work

Small rectangular beds attached to gravestones, cradle graves were popular in the 1800s among families who had come from Germany. Families with cradle graves would gather at Mount Hope on the weekends and plant and care for their families' graves with great dedication. It was a source of pride for descendants to tend to their family plots. As times changed, however, family members moved away, and cradle graves were deserted and fell into neglect.

Last year we started the cradle grave program, and we attracted many enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers -- some novice gardeners and others lifetime master gardeners. It was wonderful to see colorful flower beds come alive throughout the cemetery.

To volunteer, click on "Contact Us" above.We will make a date with you to show you what cradle graves are available, so that you can choose one that interests you. At this time of the year we are preparing for the planting season -- weeding, cleaning, raking. Then you can design your garden and be as creative as you would like. Your only guideline is to be aware of the plants that our deer residents will devour -- like hostas. We have lists that might be helpful.

Cradle Grave with bare soilWhen you adopt a cradle grave, you feel like you are a surrogate part of the deceased person's family. You can research this person and learn about his life and times. These connections are what enrich our lives as Mount Hope historians and gardeners.

planted cradle grave gardenYour commitment is to purchase whatever flowers you use and promise to weed and water throughout the season. If you are planning to be away for a short time, other cradle grave gardeners will volunteer to water your beds. 

It is great fun, and you can tend to your own personal cradle grave garden without worrying about social distancing. It is a solitary but satisfying and fun activity, and you will get many compliments for your work. There is nothing more peaceful than gardening at Mount Hope.

Come join us!

Mahar Family portrait

The Mahar Family from McQuaid Jesuit High School volunteer with Bill and Mykel Whitney at the Whitney Kettle Project near Sylvan Waters.

This hard-working family worked many hours on April 25th, dragging tons of leaves from the bottom of the kettle.

Family volunteers are so appreciated at Mount Hope.
Visit "Contact Us" on our Home Page if you can help.

 Filling tarp with raked leaves  Raking the leaves  Dragging leaf tarp up the kettle bank

MARCH 2020

Sally Millick presenting her talk
Congratulations to Sally Millick
for her fascinating presentation at the Mourning in the Morning lecture series on March 14th. Sally's research on the women who voted with Susan B. Anthony and those who supported her during her suffrage activities was the product of much original research and analysis of primary documents. Her enthusiastic audience, which included many fellow SBA researchers, resulted in a wonderful exchange of information.

We at the FOMH are interested in video-taping Sally's power point presentation so that it will be available to the whole community of Susan B. Anthony aficionados.

Sally, one of our most respected researchers, will be leading two tours during our summer season, one on the Underground Railroad on May 23rd, and the second entitled "The Quest for Women's Suffrage and Equality" on June 11th and July 25th.

Thank you, Sally! And thanks to all the audience members who participated with such spirit.



Patricia Corcoran, Anna Jannes, Valerie O'Hara

Longtime volunteer, past leader of receptionists, chair of stone cleaning committee, and genealogist Anna Jannes has moved to St. Augustine, Florida. Our gratitude to Anna and her family as well: her husband Kevin and her daughters, who worked side by side with Anna on her many projects over the years.

Anna's enthusiasm, dedication, and knowledge of Mount Hope Cemetery history were an inspiration to all of us.

We will miss you, Anna!

L to R: FOMH President Patricia Corcoran,
Anna Jannes, and Trustee Valerie O'Hara

Congratulations, Dennis!

FOMH Trustees at sofa dedication
Last summer, the antique Empire Sofa in the gatehouse was reupholstered and restored with a gift from Dennis Carr.  In April 2019, the University of Rochester (UR) had awarded Dennis their prestigious "Staff Community Service Award,"  which included a check that he could donate to his favorite charity. The restoration was completed, thanks to the work of our Restoration Committee, and led by Chris Grooms.

The restored sofa was dedicated at our Board Meeting on February 5, 2020.  A plaque above it reads:

This Empire Sofa is Dedicated to
In Honor Of
His 40 Years of Exemplary Service
And Inspirational Leadership
The Friends Of Mount Hope Cemetery

The University of Rochester issued the following statement concerning their award to Dennis Carr:

Staff Community Service Award – University of Rochester
The Staff Community Service Award honors a nonmanagement staff member whose commitment best exemplifies service to the University and the Greater Rochester community.

portrait shot of Dennis CarrDENNIS CARR
Answer Desk and ILL Specialist, Institute for Innovative Education: Miner Library

Dennis Carr is being recognized for his dedication to the Mount Hope Cemetery as a volunteer for more than 40 years.

Carr started his affiliation with Mount Hope Cemetery in the 1970s as a tour guide. In 1980, he co-founded the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, a nonprofit organization that promotes the cemetery as a cultural and educational resource and assists with the physical preservation and restoration of the historic site. Throughout the years, Carr has held many roles with the organization—president, vice president, and treasurer of the Board of Trustees; tour director; and tour committee chair.

Carr's greatest passion in his work with Mount Hope Cemetery—and what he's most known for—is giving tours. "It is impossible to be in the presence of Dennis without learning a fascinating story that will become an indelible part of our repertoire as tour guides, and enrich our lives as well," wrote Patricia Corcoran, vice president of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, in a letter supporting Carr's nomination. "His curiosity is insatiable, and his creativity enriches our organization and the hundreds of people who come on our tours every season."

Carr has been involved in countless projects with Mount Hope Cemetery including the restoration of the 1872 gazebo, acquiring grant funding in support of the cemetery's landscape preservation, and establishing unique and well-attended theme tours.

"Dennis's long-standing devotion to the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery and scale of his achievements are commendable. His exceptional personal commitment has directly elevated the profile and perception of the cemetery above and beyond fulfilling the mission of the organization he has co-founded," wrote nominators and Miner Library colleagues Susan Atkins, answer desk manager, and Jennifer Raynor, director. "Dennis is a role model, an inspiration, and truly exemplifies the essence of community service."

restored Woodlawn cemetery chapel       VISIT TO CANANDAIGUA

On Saturday, February 1st, members of our Restoration Committee visited Woodlawn Cemetery in Canandaigua to meet with Doug Stone, the cemetery superintendent.  Doug and his wife have restored a historic chapel on the grounds of this cemetery, and we were able to see the amazing transformation of this chapel, which is finally finished.

chapel interiorWe look forward to hosting Doug and his wife in the spring at Mount Hope.  Will they have any ideas for our 1863 Old Chapel?

As we gather research on our old chapel, once again we ask our members  to search their family photo albums.  We cannot find a single photo of the interior of our chapel. We have many of the exterior. Considering the number of families who used this chapel, it is strange that we cannot find any photographs.

Can you help us?