Founded in 1980, the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery is dedicated to the preservation of America’s first municipal Victorian cemetery. Dating from 1838, Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York, is the final resting place of more than 350,000 individuals, including well-known historical figures such as women’s rights pioneer Susan B. Anthony and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Exhibiting the naturalistic design of the park-like cemeteries first developed in the 1830s, Mount Hope is embellished by 82 mausoleums, soaring Egyptian obelisks, winged angels of mercy, a Florentine cast-iron fountain, two stone chapels in the Gothic Revival style, and a Moorish gazebo.
The mission of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery is to optimize the cemetery’s potential as a cultural resource through education, preservation, and promotion. The group works in partnership with the City of Rochester, which owns the cemetery and is responsible for managing burials and day-to-day maintenance.
Volunteers from the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery provide tours of the cemetery for thousands of people each year, publish brochures and books on various aspects of the cemetery, make presentations to community groups, and respond to requests for genealogical information. Volunteers also oversee and assist in restoration projects, as well as maintain the cemetery’s Victorian-style gardens and landscape features. Given limited city resources, many of these projects and activities would not take place but for the efforts of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery.
Designated a Preserve America Steward in July 2013.