Rochester's Hope: Mt. Hope Cemetery

Rochester's Hope

The University of Rochester's Connection to
"Our Quietest Neighbor"

Enter the Exhibit

Table of Contents

Explore the Mt. Hope Map

Links and Credits

Mount Hope Cemetery

Founded in 1838, Rochester's historic Mt. Hope cemetery covers an inspiring natural setting of 196 acres and contains over 350,000 gravestones. These stones still speak to us today of love and life, death, and immortality.

Mt. Hope Cemetery gatehouse: postcard
Mount Hope Postcard

Thousands of white marbles bear images and inscriptions affirming eternal life, and they stand in marked contrast to the dark Puritan slate stones with skull and crossbones, which dominate earlier American cemeteries. For many Victorians God was not a stern and aloof judge, but a vital force in the universe, and so death did not lead to hell so often as it was a portal to heaven. Sorrow is placed in a pastoral setting, in cemeteries with winding paths, reflecting pools, and deep shade, where nature mourns with us. Then, just as trees and flowers return to life in spring, so too there is rebirth for the dead. This new appreciation for nature was a conscious element in the creation of the Victorian, or rural, cemeteries, of which Mt. Hope was the third in America.


Founded in 1850, the University of Rochester has always maintained close ties with Mt. Hope cemetery, as many faculty and alumni rest there, undisturbed within its deep repose. With the founding of the River Campus, the University now shares both physical and spiritual bonds with its peaceful neighbor.

Mt. Hope stereoview, W.A. Reynolds plot

Mt. Hope Cemetery postcard

Warm summer sun, shine brightly here,
Warm northern wind, blow softly here,
Green sod above, lie light, lie light,
Good night, dear heart; good night, good night.

On to the next section: The University of Rochester Plot