Location: In the south end of Rochester, Monroe County, New York
Address: 1133 Mt. Hope Avenue Rochester, NY 14620
Phone: (585) 428-7999
Days / Hours: All year. Open daily from dawn until dusk. Office is closed holidays.
Handicap accessibility: Only the main office.
Pets: Allowed, on leash. Must clean up after. Not allowed in any of the fountains or ponds. Dog owners who allow their dogs to roam off leash will be fined. Individuals who repeatedly fail to abide by these rules may be banned from the cemetery. If you observe an unleashed dog, please call 311 to report it.
Accommodations: Maps and information available at the office or entrance kiosks. Restaurants and shopping along Mt. Hope Ave.
Best time to visit: Year-round with fall adding spectacular color (try late October), and winter adding an eerie calm. Spring and summer are best for flowers.
Having previously visited the cemetery in Autumn, Winter and Spring, we returned a final time late into a relatively wet summer. The grounds crew was busy at work, mowing, removing old flowers and trimming trees, while numerous visitors jogged, bicycled, walked their dogs, and explored the cemetery grounds alone or with family. The sight was no different than many urban municipal parks, only with the added air of gravesite curiosities and leisurely sightseeing. A few camera-carrying out-of-towners wondered if I could assist them in locating the Susan B. Anthony gravesite (then under maintenance to clean up the surrounding garden). They were in town for the World Canals Conference, and having recently watched a documentary on the women’s rights activist, wanted to find and photograph her grave. They started their journey in their hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, the site of the infamous witch trials, a shameful period for American women’s rights. From there they navigated their vessel around Cape Cod, and then Long Island, made it up the Hudson River to Waterford, NY, where they joined the Erie Canal system and crossed the Finger Lakes Region to the conference in Rochester. Today, they found themselves on foot, lost in Mt. Hope Cemetery. The sounds of lawn-mowers and traffic resonated in the distance, while songbirds dashed between the tree canopies and chattered from their perches. On the ground, squirrels were numerous; busy collecting what fruit had begun to settle and dashing to hide behind headstones as people approached. Summer is easily the most active of the seasons for Mt Hope, with wildlife, people and their pets going about their business. It’s almost a challenge to find a quiet nook on a sunny summer day. As the fourth season photographing the cemetery, and after several trips, I arrived with the mindset that I would be hard-pressed to find anything new to capture. To my surprise, the heavy summer sun brought out the bright and diverse colors and dramatic contrast of the stonework. Within no time I had a full memory card and a desire to return. Freshly trimmed grounds opened up several locations that were uninteresting to me in past visits and I was able to take advantage of the strong yellow cast of the warm light to breathe new life into old scenes. Still, after repeat visits and thousands of shutter snaps, I believe there is still much of the cemetery’s character yet to be captured.
Writing / Photography
Photography / Editing