Restoration of the Old Jewish Sections
Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery and Temple B’Rith Kodesh Join Together to Restore Two Old Jewish Sections of Mount Hope Cemetery.
A Mitzvah Day cleanup project organized by Reform synagogue Temple B’rith Kodesh led to a joint restoration project coordinated by Friends Board member, Earl Gurell. Section O, Lots 396 and 397 were the first public Jewish burial plots purchased in Rochester, New York by the Jewish community. The lots were purchased in April of 1848 and between that date and into the early 1870s, 128 children and 15 adults were buried therein. The area was found to be in a state of neglect. Friends members as well as the Mt. Hope Cemetery staff, repaired and up-righted stones as well as assisting in the research required insuring a complete listing of burials.
While researching the Sec. O lots, another old section was discovered; the Jewish Poor Lot, a section whose existence was unknown to the Jewish community. Most of the burials were children who died of such illnesses as cholera, influenza and consumption. Only two individuals of the 85 children and 15 adults buried were memorialized by two small stones.
Mr. Gurell obtained donations from the community that resulted in the erection of memorial stones in each of the two areas. On August 12, 2007 a community dedication service, attended by over 75 people including one man who’s great, great grandfather was buried in Section O, was held at both locations.
Charles Rau Mausoleum restoration
The Charles Rau Mausoleum restoration funded by the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery is now completed. The crowning moment occurred when the large cross was raised to its once proud location on the peak of the roof. The three-man team from local contractor, E. G. Sackett Co., went over and above, by replacing falling stones immediately in front of the mausoleum and cleaning the mausoleum face. The Mount Hope Cemetery City of Rochester grounds workers re-contoured the ground and seeded the area.
To show that surprises are always just around the corner, one member of the E. G. Sackett team was Jason Requa, great-grandson of Josephus Requa, Rochester dentist and inventor of the first practical rapid fire gun, producing the first working model in 1861. President Lincoln witnessed a satisfactory test of the gun in Washington, D.C. The Requa gun was used during the Civil War, but soon was surpassed by the invention of the Gatling gun. Jason was able to visit for the first time his great-grandfather’s grave at Mount Hope Cemetery. Our tour committee leader and his team of guides were excited to meet a descendent of Dr. Requa whose story is told on a great many of the Friends weekend tours.
01 Oct 2007 by fomh