Rochester, New York, was already outgrowing its downtown cemetery, Riverside, when a cholera epidemic struck in 1832. City officials began the planning to a new cemetery and purchased the land that would become Mt. Hope in 1836.
Mt. Hope was the first municipal cemetery in the United States with graves older than the official graveyard itself. Residents of Mt. Hope include Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas. And among traditional graves include lawn crypts, columbariums and family mausoleums. And contrary to popular rumor, there are still burial spaces remaining, with an average of about 350 interments each year.
Mt. Hope also boasts and interesting cocaphony of the living mingling with the dead and elegantly up-kept grounds lay the foundation of abandoned buildings. There are historic walking tours of the cemetery and its myriad of historic treasures kept within its surrounding areas. Currently, the City of Rochester in conjunction with the Friends of Mt. Hope have several efforts underway to preserve and restore the cemetery. So…go check the ruins out while they’re still here. That’s a bit ironic to be saying, isn’t it.