2019 News Archives




Gazebo at north entrance

With the end of our 2019 tour season, we want to thank our community for its support.

We have had great attendance and enthusiasm for our theme tours, Twilight Tours, and Sunday tours, and we have welcomed many new members.

Many of you attended our Torch Light Tours, which were our annual fund raiser. We appreciate your participation.
Your support allows us to restore and repair gravestones, plant new trees, and beautify the cemetery with our common gardens and cradle graves.

Special thanks to all our volunteers who work tirelessly on a variety of projects. Their hard work and dedication are critical to the work of the Friends. Board members, tour guides, receptionists, gardeners, stone cleaners, our restoration committee, our webmaster, speakers, researchers, writers, genealogists, landscape volunteers plus many people working behind the scenes in membership, creating our Epitaph, scheduling our special tours, creating signs, – the list goes on and on.

We are an all-volunteer organization. Each volunteer is vital. Each volunteer is appreciated. We thank you!

Pat Corcoran, President
Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery


November 12, 2019
To The Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery:

baby birds in a bluebird box

There were 5 successful bluebird broods nesting in our 13 boxes, each yielding 3-5 fledglings. This is the average over the last 13 years, but only half of the peak of 10. There was a surprising number of successful chickadee broods – this year we had 4 successful chickadee broods, twice the previous high of 2.

We had 3 successful house wren broods. While this was higher than the last 4 years, it is well below the peak of 15. Part of the reason for the lower overall number of broods is the absence of second broods.

Prof. Jack Warren in Biology at the University of Rochester collected most of the bluebird and chickadee nests just after fledging to be used in studies of the evolutionary changes of blowflies and their parasites. A short video of his student collecting nests was taken by University communications staff to be used to publicize his research.

flying squirrel on tree trunk

We are delighted that a flying squirrel is continuing to use one of our boxes for nesting. We try not to disturb her, so we do not check that box when we think she is there. She was still in the box on November 5, so we did not clean out the box when we winterized all of the other boxes.

We had a great summer observing not only the bluebirds, but also all the birds and wildlife in the Mt. Hope Cemetery. This year, we especially enjoyed great looks at the fledgling red-tailed hawks.

Sheryl Gracewski


CARLO, the beloved mascot of the FOMH, has come out of the corner!
Come a bit early for your next tour and check out his updated space. Carlo loves visitors, especially cemetery lovers!


JUNE 2019


Jewish Roots tour group on a rainy day

What an enthusiastic group of tour goers joined us for a wonderful tour honoring the history and enormous contributions of Rochester’s Jewish community. Here we are at the grave of Lillian Wald, celebrating her exemplary life  This tour was led by Nancy Kraus, Earl Gurell, and Dennis Carr.

Rain or shine – we carry on! If you have not been on one of our theme tours, think about joining us. You will learn a lot, meet interesting people, and experience one of the loveliest places in Rochester. (in all weather!)


2019 is the year that we have revived a cradle grave project to bring color, life, and beauty to Mount Hope. 

We have a wonderful enthusiastic group of gardeners who have been hard at work planting their cradle graves.  We do have room for a few more gardeners.  We have some cradle graves all cleaned and ready to be planted as a result of a recent volunteer project.

Use the “Contact Us” prompt on this website to let us know of your interest in adopting a cradle grave.  We can direct you from there.  Here is basic information:

1. Volunteers can select a cradle grave to adopt.
2. Grave Gardeners commit to tending to their assigned cradle grave throughout the entire growing season (June-November).  This includes purchasing and planting flowers, keeping them watered, and keeping the cradle weeded.
3. Other cradle garden programs recommend that 2-4 hours a week are necessary to devote to this project.

When you adopt a cradle grave, you will 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.

Consider joining us on this new venture!  Adopt a cradle grave!

MAY 2019


nurses wk at wald grave

May 6 marked a wonderful visit by nurses, administrators, and employees of HCR Home Care to pay tribute to Lillian Wald, founder of the Henry Street Settlement in New York City.  Miss Wald pioneered public health nursing, and is buried with her family at Mount Hope.

Every year this loyal group conducts a touching ceremony at the grave of Lillian Wald to commemorate her incredible contributions to the fields of nursing and social work.


highland park tour2

On Saturday, May 4th,  volunteers from the FOMH were invited to a special tour at Highland Park led by JoAnn Beck, landscape architect, and President of the Highland Conservancy.  This reciprocal tour (last year members of the Conservancy came to Mount Hope for a tour) was organized by FOMH Volunteer Coordinator Deb Coffey and Mary Gaudioso from the Highland Group.

Strolling through the park with a landscape architect provided a whole new view into the history, vision, and layout of the Park.In 1888, nurserymen George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry donated 20 acres as a gift to the people of Rochester which became Highland Park, one of the nation’s first municipal arboretums. Highland Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, with the purpose of retaining a natural appearance. Horticulturist John Dunbar started the park’s famous lilac collection in 1892.

highland park tour1

L to R:
JoAnn Beck (Highland Conservancy)
Henry McCartney (FOMH)
Patricia Corcoran (FOMH)
Mary Gaudioso (Highland Conservancy

We always welcome new volunteers to join us at Mount Hope.  We promote the mission of the  FOMH, make new friends, meet visitors from all over the world, – we make a difference in our community and have fun at the same time.  To get involved and explore opportunities, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Deb Coffey at [email protected].

APRIL 2019


leigh fought

What a wonderful evening we had with Dr. Leigh Fought, the guest speaker at our Annual Meeting on April 9th.

Leigh came to us from LeMoyne College, where she is Associate Professor of History. Her presentation was entitled “Frederick Douglass’s Burial and the Wives of the Great Man:  Anne Murray, Helen Pitts, and the Role of a Wife in Commemorating Frederick Douglass.”  In writing her book about Frederick Douglass, she had spent much time researching the life of Douglass in Rochester, walking the lanes of Mount Hope Cemetery, visiting Douglass’ old neighborhoods, and spending time at the University of Rochester.

As members of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, we never tire of learning more about Frederick Douglass and his family. If you were unable to attend the meeting, or would like a repeat performance of Leigh’s talk, we have included a link to her presentation.

Dr. Fought very kindly wrote about her visit with the Friends of Mount Hope in her blog.

OUR ORPHAN TREE — an orphan no more!

newly planted cherry tree

During the depth and darkness of winter a lonely abandoned cherry tree was found unplanted near the fence by the barn.  Once again its savior was our own tree man, Tom Jones.  Tom immediately became the guardian of this scrawny tree, battered by wind and snow through our long winter.  On many occasions Tom trudged through the snow to upright the tree which had blown over again and again.

Two weeks ago the orphan tree was lovingly planted in the area where it had been found.  If you drive down Linden Avenue toward the U of R fence, you will see this proud tree, now part of our Mount Hope forest – an orphan no more! 

Thanks, Tom!


volunteers raking leaves
Reseeting a toppled gravestone

Thank you to all of our passionate, energetic, and hard-working volunteers! The gift of your time is invaluable; your dedication and commitment is second to none! Among the many services performed, FOMH volunteers lead tours, clean and re-set gravestones, rake leaves, greet and direct visitors, and much more. Your efforts make visiting Mount Hope Cemetery a must-see Rochester destination!

volunteers cleaning gravestones
tour group and guide

Thank you for all that you do!


tour group at Frederick Douglass grave

It is always a joy to welcome our first tour of the Spring season, and Saturday, March 30th proved to be a glorious warm day to greet an enthusiastic group of teens from Wood Library in Canandaigua. The trip was organized by their teen services librarian Katie Smith and included several high school teachers as well. Joanne Mitchell, FOMH tour guide, led their “Quest for Women’s Rights” tour.  Hurray for Wood Library!

MARCH 2019

March 13, 2019
Susan B. Anthony died 113 Years Ago Today

Read Susan B. Anthony’s obituary in the New York Times.

anthony sb gravesite march 13
Susan B Anthony Mount Hope Cemetery

Today a funeral wreath will be hung on the front door of the Anthony home as well as at Miss Anthony’s grave at Mt. Hope Cemetery.  Susan B. Anthony died in her bedroom on the second floor of #17 Madison St. on March 13, 1906, at the age of 86.

Miss Anthony, your memory is a blessing.

FOMH GENEALOGICAL SERVICES:  A Priceless Gift to Families

PART ONE  –  Meet Anna Jannes  

Anna Jannes

One of the most appreciated services of the Friends of Mount Hope is free genealogical information for families with relatives buried at Mount Hope and Riverside Cemeteries.  Our research team consists of two FOMH members and veteran researchers, Anna Jannes and Nancy Uffindell.  In addition, Gwen  Dade, Cemetery Sales Coordinator of the City of Rochester, responds to inquiries regarding availability of graves in a certain plot, burial costs, and cemetery policies.

Let’s meet the amazing Anna Jannes!  Anna loves looking through the old interment books and deciphering the cursive and old fashioned names. She is excited to find the name and burial location of a lost relative and send photos to the family.  People yearn to know if their loved one has a marker.  It’s a puzzle come to life!

Anna shares two special memories of her work:

“In the six years I have been handling the genealogy inquiries for the Friends, two requests have really moved me. The first one was my very first genealogy request. A person was looking for a long lost relative and unbeknownst to me, not everyone buried in Mount Hope has a grave marker (it was my first assignment  – I’ve learned a lot since then!). The person the family was looking for was buried in the old public grounds without a grave marker. Even today when I am in that section of the cemetery, I stop by the unmarked grave and say ‘Hi’– I want this person to know that he is not forgotten.

“My second story is from a woman in Houston who asked me to find her great-great grandfather James’s grave. She was very proud of the fact that James had served during the Civil War, but very sad she lived so far away and could not honor him personally on Memorial and Veterans’ Days. As my eldest daughter Gillian is a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps and just happened to be home on leave, we both went to James’s gravesite where my daughter planted an American flag to honor his service. I’m not sure who was moved more by this, my daughter, myself, or James’s great-great grand-daughter. It tugs at my heart even now almost two years later.”

The Mount Hope Cemetery genealogical look-ups performed by the Friends are a free, volunteer service. Response time is 10-14 working days. To submit a request, use Contact Us on this homepage. Write your question, and be sure to include the name and death date of the deceased person whom you are researching.

Thank you, Anna!


Spring is coming, and it’s time to book cemetery tours for your Girl Scouts.  Many of you are involved in the “Stories in Stone Patch Program.”  This entire program is available on our website, or through the Girl Scouts. 

Mount Hope is a great place to do community service projects.  Currently we are desperate for rakers (once the snow melts)!  It’s fun to have a picnic at the cemetery, and we can combine these activities with a tour.

To book a tour, please use the “Contact Us” button at the top of this homepage.  You will be connected to our Special Tour Coordinator, Chris Petote.


DR. HARTWELL CARVER —  “Remarkable Rochesterian”

Hartwell Carver epitaph

What an interesting article by Jim Memmott in Dec 4th’s  Democrat and Chronicle about Dr. Hartwell Carver, formerly of Pittsford, and now a permanent resident of Mt. Hope.

Here is a man who was totally devoted to the dream of creating a railroad to the Pacific Ocean.  He spent years promoting the feasibility and practical use of such a railroad.  When his dream was finally fulfilled, he helped drive the “golden spike” that connected the east and west by rail in 1869.

It appears from Memmott’s research that Carver erected his 50-foot-high memorial – the second highest in the cemeter—several years before his death, and wrote his own epitaph.  I suspect that many wealthy early Rochesterians made similar plans to erect elegant statuary before their deaths.  Pre-planning was in vogue!


Having recently been added to the list of the Democrat & Chronicle’s “Remarkable Rochesterians,”  Dr. Carver’s entry reads:

Dr. Hartwell Carver (1789-1875): An early advocate of a railroad that would link the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, he began publishing articles on the subject as early as 1832 and later claimed he was the “father of the Pacific Railroad.” Others would also lay claim to this title. Born in Providence, R.I., he graduated from Yale University in 1816 (after a brief time at Hamilton College) and set up a
medical practice in Pittsford, where he lived, on and off, for the rest of his life, his time interrupted by frequent travel.

He also established several businesses in the area and built a large home in Pittsford village. Before his death, he had a 54-foot monument to himself erected in Mount Hope Cemetery at what became his burial site.

carver house

Carver’s monument and gravesite will be featured on our Winter Tour on Saturday, January 26th.  Winter tours are invigorating, educational, and fun.  All are welcome!

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