skip navigation

 FRIENDS OF MOUNT HOPE CEMETERY -- NEWS


June, 2018

RESTORATION UPDATE




Gazebo Nearly Finished

The Moorish style gazebo at the north entrance to Mount Hope Cemetery was built in 1872 and has undergone several restorations, one back in 1980 and another in 2016–2017. This photo was taken on October 23, 2017 after the arabesque design had been painted on several of the roof panels. The remaining panels will be completed this summer.









Two Famous Sculptures Cleaned and Preserved
      by Richard Reisem
By the second week of October 2017, two outstanding marble sculptures in Mount Hope Cemetery (the Weary Pilgrim in the Aaron Erickson plot and Saint John in the George Ellwanger plot) that had been exposed to decades of tree droppings, acid rain, vehicle exhaust, soot, fungus, and polluted air were spotlessly cleaned. The cleaning was no ordinary washing with soap and water. These were marble sculptures carved of rare Italian Carrera marble, which, like all marble, is porous, and therefore subject to lichen growth that when it dies leaves black deposits on the white marble. Sap and other tree droppings become glued to the marble. Polluted air carries dirt and chemicals that are deposited on the stone.

Cleaning marble cemetery monuments becomes a challenging and toilsome task. Not only are the stones stained and dirty, they are old. The Ellwanger monument of Saint John the Evangelist was carved in Rome and completed in 1874; the Erickson monument of a Weary Pilgrim in the Crusades, also carved in Rome, was completed in 1882. Both of them are well over a century old.

They were carved by a world-renowned Italian sculptor, Nicola Cantalamessa- Papotti (1833–1910). He worked at the court of Naples, where, for King Ferdinand II, he created a number of major sculptural works. He was also a sculptor for Pope Pius IX. Cantalamessa-Papotti created sculptures for American clients as well. One was a memorial for U.S. President James A. Garfield. There are four of Papotti's sculptures in Rochester: two in Mount Hope Cemetery, one in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, and one on permanent display in the Memorial Art Gallery.

                  
                       The Weary Pilgrim before cleaning                                              after cleaning
                                                                           Photos by Ron Richardson

The Weary Pilgrim sculpture, located near the top of  Section G, depicts a traveler resting on his journey to the Holy Land in the Crusades, which were sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church in the medieval period (1095– 1410) and were campaigns to recover the Holy Land from Islamic rule. The Crusaders received plenary indulgences from the church. So the Weary Pilgrim becomes a symbol for forgiveness of sins. A close look at the sculpture reveals the clam shell worn on the left shoulder of the pilgrim's cloak. It was the icon of the Crusades.

                  
                     St. John before cleaning                                        after cleaning
                                                              Photos by Donald S. Hall

The 7-foot-high marble sculpture of the seated Saint John the Evangelist in Section V is depicted with the traditional eagle at his left side. St. John was banished to the island  of Patmos in the Aegean Sea during a period of Christian persecution. It was on this island where St. John received revelations from God and wrote the book of Revelation. The inscription on the base of the statue reads, "I heard a voice from Heaven…" The entire Biblical verse reads: "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, 'Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.'"

With such provenances relating to these sculptures and their creator, the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery was especially careful in proceeding with restoration work. We found two conservators who follow the U.S. Department of the Interior conservation regulations assiduously, namely Ron Koenig of Building Arts and Conservation, Saline, Michigan and Peter Ellison of Ellison Conservation, Canandaigua, New York. Their work in the first weeks of October involved several applications of cleaning materials applied several days apart for maximum effectiveness.
 
Both the Weary Pilgrim and Saint John received this three-step process, while Saint John required a fourth treatment to remove the especially tough stains from vehicular emissions, because the sculpture is located very close to busy Mount Hope Avenue.


April 4, 2018
 

CANANDAIGUA NATIONAL BANK AWARDS GRANT TO FRIENDS OF MOUNT HOPE

Canandaigua National Bank has selected FOMH, through its Canandaigua National Community Foundation, for one of its 2018 philanthropic awards.  In accepting this award of  $500, Henry McCartney stated that  "As FOMH's very new executive director, I am delighted to thank Canandaigua Bank for this support, which is very appreciated and will further our efforts to preserve and promote Mount Hope Cemetery as one of Rochester's most important cultural resources."



March, 2018

A MAJOR NEW BOOK FROM THE FRIENDS OF MOUNT HOPE CEMETERY

Buried Treasures book coverThe Friends of Mount Hope announce the publication of a new, expanded edition of author Richard O. Reisem's fascinating and highly informative pictorial field guide, Buried Treasures in Mount Hope Cemetery.

The new 230-page field guide to historic Mount Hope helps cemetery visitors locate more than 650 burial sites of remarkable people -- some well known, others more obscure – and provides a biographical sketch for each one. The text is complemented by some 210 color photographs of cemetery "residents," important monuments, and the evocative landscape of America's first municipal Victorian cemetery. Useful, easily read maps of each cemetery quadrant as well as a larger map of the whole cemetery will help visitors explore Mr. Hope.

For more information about the book and how to obtain a copy, visit our Gift Shop page.



January, 2018


FRIENDS OF MOUNT HOPE CEMETERY ANNOUNCE LEADERSHIP CHANGES

MARILYN NOLTE recently resigned from her position as president of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery in order to accept  a position working directly with Mt. Hope Cemetery management. She will remain as a member of the board until her term expires in April, 2018.

Marilyn's dedication to the Friends is well known. Under her leadership the Friends has expanded its focus in such areas as  programming, restoration and community involvement.

Marilyn stated she is looking forward to new challenges while at the same time being part of the close relationship that has existed for more than 35 years between the City-owned Mount Hope Cemetery and the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery.


HENRY MC CARTNEY, former Landmark Society Executive Director and local civic activist, began his new duties as Executive Director of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery on January 1st.  In this newly created position, Henry joins the FOMH Board currently led by President Richard Reisem.

Henry McCartney brings to The Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery 27 years of experience in directing historic preservation organizations.  In Rochester, from 1984 to 2005, he was executive director of the Landmark Society of Western New York, where he oversaw creation of additional National Register Historic Districts, such as the Susan B Anthony district; started a publication program; transformed the derelict 1840 Hoyt-Potter House into Landmark's headquarters; and built the Landmark Society into one of the country's most notable preservation organizations. 

In Buffalo, he planned the merger of two small preservation organizations into Preservation Buffalo Niagara and oversaw PBNs effort to host the 2011 National Preservation Conference, now viewed as a seminal event spurring Buffalo's current revival.   Before coming to upstate New York, Henry led an initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to support neighborhood organizations across the country.  In the 1970s, he helped organized and then served as the only staff person for a neighborhood preservation organization in Jacksonville, Florida.  In 2012, Henry retired and relocated back to Rochester. 

Henry assumes this new leadership role with enthusiasm.  "Even though I really enjoy my Rochester retirement, I could not pass up this opportunity to become an Executive Director again, albeit as a volunteer.  The Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery does great work with a dedicated group of tour guides, researchers, writers, monument restorers and more.  I'm hoping that what I've learned over these many years about operating citizen organizations will enable me to reinforce the work of these volunteers and make the Friends even stronger."   

Friends' Vice President Patricia Corcoran welcomes Henry to the Board.  "The mission of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery is vital to this community, and we are thrilled to have Henry McCartney as our Executive Director."