Natural Treasures

Tom Jones & Rose O'Keefe SWQ Autumn 2019

Mount Hope Cemetery is a treasure trove of natural beauty. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the magnificent trees there, hop on PlantsMap ( - a website that hosts botanical collections) and search “fomh”, short for Friends of Mt. Hope. When you do that you’ll be able to navigate to different plants and collections identified in Mt. Hope Cemetery.

In the Trees of Mount Hope collection, you’ll find over two-hundred trees identified (over one-hundred different kinds!) each having a story with pictures and a location. Some of the trees have tags that have information about the tree with QR codes on them that, when scanned with a smartphone, will take you right to the webpage that has interesting facts and pictures.

If you go to the Cradle Grave Gardening collection, you’ll see the latest on a new gardening initiative sponsored by FOMH. (Cradle graves are those gravesites that have a headstone, footstone and side walls.) This type of gardening is reminiscent of the old days when folks used to go to visit their deceased loved ones and commune with nature. These revived flower gardens are lovely and bring beauty to some old gravesites. The new Collection on the Plants-Map for some of the cradle graves is

You can also learn more about the natural beauty on the website Under “fauna” are listed certified wildlife habitat; bluebird project; birds of Mount Hope; screech owls, and flying squirrels. Under “flora” are mushrooms and trees. Tom posts regularly about the impressive trees. There are lush photos to back them up.

Mt. Hope Cemetery Autumn Special Events

To get a closer look at the trees and flowers, enjoy one of the tours. An ardent group of FOHM volunteers give general tours on Sundays at 2 p.m. through Oct. 27th starting at the Gatehouse, across from Robinson Drive ($10 or free/members.) The last ASL interpreted tour is Sept. 29. These are the general tours on Sunday at 2 p.m. with the addition of several sites that are important to Rochester’s rich deaf history/heritage.

One of the popular special tours is the “Geography of Mount Hope Cemetery” tour which is going to be on Saturday, September 14, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. with MCC Professor Michael Boester. During this extensive tour, he will share the physical and cultural geography of the cemetery, its evolution from America’s first municipally-owned Victorian cemetery to fulfilling today’s trends in natural burials and cremations. ($40 for all-day tour. $30 for members). Registration is required and space is limited. There is a half-hour break for lunch – bring your own, or order on day of the tour (cash only). Meet: North Gatehouse opposite Robinson Dr. Coming up before you know it are the “Grand Torch Light Tours”, Saturday, October 5 & Tuesday October 8. Groups go out every 15 minutes from 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Guides will take you to unique stops and share stories from Rochester’s history, by moonlight and torchlight. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at door. There is no parking in the cemetery. Park on Robinson Drive or on neighborhood streets. Meet: North Gatehouse opposite Robinson Drive.

Also coming up: “Architecture & Architects: History In Plain Sight”, Saturday October 12 at 11 a.m. with tour guide Dennis Carr. This tour is a walk through the past 200 years of our region’s architectural history. You will leave with a new appreciation for the buildings you see throughout your own community! Meet: North Gatehouse opposite Robinson Drive.

“Riverside Ramble: More History, Scenery, & Stories” tour will be held on Sunday October 13 at 1 p.m. with tour guides Cynthia Howk of the Landmark Society and Joanne Mitchell of FOMH. This tour continues our exploration of the city’s historic Riverside Cemetery, established in 1892 overlooking the Genesee River gorge. We’ll visit the eastern half of the cemetery and discover its social, cultural and landscape history amidst an autumnal setting. Meet: Entrance to Riverside Cemetery, 2650 Lake Ave, Rochester, NY 14612

“Mischief, Murder And Mayhem”, Saturday, October 19 at 11 a.m. with tour guide Dennis Carr. Meet some permanent residents who bent, broke, or enforced the law, or whose lives met unfortunate or grisly ends. Meet: North Gatehouse opposite Robinson Drive.

“Fall Foliage At Mount Hope”, Saturday October 26 at 11 a.m. Experience the Cemetery’s changes as its foliage dons its beautiful fall overcoat with tour guides Zak Steele and Ed Olinger. Meet: North Gatehouse opposite Robinson Drive.

Check for other listings and further details at FOMH TOUR LINE: (585) 461-3494.