One of the best places in the city to enjoy autumn’s splendor is Mount Hope Cemetery, where foliage is at its peak in mid to late October. There are over 3,000 trees representing 85 different species in the peaceful, parklike setting. The cemetery is home to squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, deer, red foxes, amphibians, and dozens of bird species. There are also over 45 varieties of mushrooms so be careful as some can be toxic to dogs.
Mount Hope Cemetery is an outdoor museum filled with interesting stories of Rochester residents. Sometime cherished pets are also memorialized in the stones marking their owners’ graves. Just south of the path leading to the gravesite of Frederick Douglass, you can spot a statue of a terrier atop Antoinette Tiemann Lambert’s gravestone in Section S, Lot 79. The inscription has worn away, but once read “I am her little Flossie watching over her while she sleeps.”
Off the cemetery path named Hillside Avenue, you can see a statue of a child and a dog in Section I, Lot 25. Now surrounded by trees and undergrowth, the statue sits on the gravestone of Henry Fish Jr., the infant son of Henry L. Fish, a mayor of Rochester in the 1860s. Visitors have left many pebbles, coins, and tokens on the memorial over the years.
Rochester historian and author, Richard Reisem, told me the story of Carlo, a quarter-ton bronze statue of a Labrador Retriever that steadfastly guarded a mausoleum for more than a century before he was stolen in 1992. The statue was returned through the efforts of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery and is now “comfortably ensconced in the parlor of the gatehouse” where it serves as the organization’s mascot.
Visitors are welcome at Mount Hope Cemetery every day of the year. People and leashed dogs may walk on paths, walkways, and roadways. Visitor information and cemetery maps may be found on the city of Rochester webpage — https://www.cityofrochester.gov/mounthope.