Mount Hope Cemetery Cultural Landscape Report and Tree Inventory/Management Plan Completed
By Richard O. Reisem
On September 26, 2007, a major 1 ½-year study of Mount Hope Cemetery began. Costing nearly $100,000, the study is the most comprehensive such effort ever undertaken for Mount Hope Cemetery. Three grants paid for the project: New York State Quality Communities Program, Preservation League Preserve New York Program, and Rochester Area Community Foundation Klos Historic Preservation Fund. During the 17 months of work on the project, participants in the study held half-day progress meetings on November 28, 2007; June 23, July 15, September 16, and November 13, 2008; and April 16, 2009. Read more…
New Edition of Rochester History Journal Announced
A reception and public program on Monday, December 7, 2009 introduced the newest edition of the Rochester History Journal, titled “We Called Her Anna: Nathaniel Rochester and Slavery in the Genesee Country.” The publication commemorates the 175th anniversary of the signing of the City of Rochester’s city charter. Authors Marilyn S. Nolte, President of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery; Victoria Sandwick Schmitt, President of Corn Hill Navigation and a trustee of the Friends; and Christine L. Ridarsky, Rochester City Historian spoke on Nathaniel Rochester’s role as a trader and owner of enslaved people in the State of Maryland, and about the historical significance of his bringing enslaved people to the Genesee Country in the early 1800s.
Disclosed in this edition is the identification of Anna, a female whose gravestone bearing the single line “We Called Her Anna,” has long mystified visitors to the Rochester family lot in Mount Hope Cemetery.The Journal is published by the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County.
National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
Mount Hope Cemetery has been officially recognized as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program. Nancy Uffindell, Executive Committee member and Trustee of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, submitted the application on behalf of the City of Rochester and the Friends.
The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program, implemented by the National Parks Service, coordinates preservation and education efforts nationwide and integrates local historical sites into a network of community, regional and national stories. The program builds on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998. As part of the network, Mount Hope Cemetery is authorized to use or display a uniform network logo, receive technical assistance, and participate in program workshops.
The application required substantial documentation of individuals interred in Mount Hope Cemetery who were active participants in the Underground Railroad. More than 30 individuals were listed on Mount Hope’s application, including Frederick Douglass, Reverend Thomas James, and members of the Daniel Anthony family, the Asa Anthony family, the Samuel Porter family, the Elias DeGarmo family, the Isaac Post family, and several others.
This is the second nation-wide program application submitted by The Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery on behalf of the City of Rochester. In 2008 Mount Hope Cemetery was designated a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. The application was submitted by Sue O’Neil, a Trustee of the Friends.
World of Inquiry Students Explore History at Mount Hope Cemetery
Marilyn Nolte, President of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, has been helping World of Inquiry School create a social studies program focused on the period prior to and including the American Civil War. Students begin the program learning about historical figures for whom Rochester streets were named. Each student then chooses a “compelling historic figure,” researches the person’s life and career, and prepares a presentation outlining why the person deserved to have a city street named for them.
Approximately 30 “compelling characters” were chosen from among the multitude of important Rochesterians interred at Mount Hope. The students visited the cemetery, located their research subjects, made notes from the gravestones and family plots, and began considering what historical information needed to be assembled for a persuasive presentation.
The success of this World of Inquiry program has become a stepping stone for the development of future learning programs that will be available for Rochester City Schools through the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery.
Volunteers Make All the Difference! Kudos to Birchcrest!
Lewis Henry Morgan has been called the father of the science of anthropology, a title he gained from his studies of the culture of the Seneca Indians. Morgan lived on South Fitzhugh Street. His home contained a massive library, and he and his friends gathered there to discuss topics of the day. Lewis Henry Morgan died in 1881 and left his estate to the University of Rochester for the advancement of women’s education.Morgan’s mausoleum is in the High Victorian gothic style and is constructed of Medina sandstone, which has begun to deteriorate. Deterioration has been accelerated by the increase in tree and shrub growth immediately surrounding the site. Thanks to David Dailey of Birchcrest Tree and Landscape, Inc., a volunteer work crew was sent to Mount Hope Cemetery on May 7th to cut and prune to allow air flow and sunlight to once again surround this impressive mausoleum.We thank Birchcrest for this generous contribution to the beauty and well-being of Mount Hope Cemetery.
Clean Sweep Roars Through Mount Hope
On Saturday, May 2, scores of Clean Sweep volunteers descended on Mount Hope and raked the areas around Sylvan Waters. Under the leadership of Becky Grimes from RochesterCares and Jeffrey Simmons, Cemetery Manager, people of all ages wearing their bright yellow Clean Sweep shirts converged on the slopes of Sylvan Waters filling tarp after tarp with leaves and hauling them to the roads. Then huge machines manned by city workers hauled the leaves into large trucks and carried them away. The day started with a gathering at Cobbs Hill Park, where volunteers were greeted by Mayor Bob Duffy and city officials. After a continental breakfast and registration, a group photo was taken of the hundreds of participants. Then buses were loaded and dispersed to various projects all over southeast Rochester. After hours of work at Mount Hope, buses returned the group to Cobbs Hill for lunch. It was a sunny spring day filled with excitement and camaraderie. People had a wonderful time while providing an invaluable service to spring cleanup at the cemetery.
RochesterCares Commits to Monthly Service Projects at Mount Hope
After years of occasional projects in the cemetery, RochesterCares, a local volunteer program, has committed to having service days at Mount Hope the fourth Saturday of each month from June until October. Volunteers can sign up on this website or directly through the RochesterCares website. Becky Grimes will coordinate these project days with the cemetery management and FOMH volunteers.Bringing people into the cemetery for service projects not only helps beautify the cemetery, but also stimulates interest in the history of Mount Hope. Working in this magnificent setting is always a joyful experience as well as an educational one.