The church and cemetery are located about a ten minute drive out of the city, in the town of Gates. Despite sitting right off a main road, it is still a relativity quiet piece of the town. There is just something about cemeteries and quietness, right? Anyway, on a rather cold Sunday after our brief Indian summer, I decided to re-visit one of my old favorite places. I tend to fear it comes off somewhat morbid to casually mention that a cemetery is one of my favorite places. But there is so much beauty and history found inside them, I know I'm not the only one. Mount Hope Cemetery is a staple of Rochester for many reasons, but we have these little places too. And I mean little. The backyard area isn't very large, and there aren’t too many graves, but there is certainly is a lot of character.
Finding information about this old church isn't easy. When I was younger, my mom and I did a little research at the public library. Many years ago, there had been a fire inside the church. After rebuilding it, the congregation eventually moved to a newer, bigger establishment. At least, that’s what I remember from the articles we found. I also remember the rumors of what may or may not have happened before or after the fire. Tales of trouble in the church! Fire! A hanging! Looking back, I laugh thinking about how much I probably believed and ran with these stories. I liked not knowing though. I liked a little mystery.
Now, the structure is old. The stained glass in the back is practically boarded up or gone. The front is faded and washed out. Over the years, I've watched less and less of it exist. I can only slightly remember what it looked like when it was all there. The inside doesn't resemble much of a church anymore. But despite all the parts of this place that make it less than what is was, I still love it. I love the history. The graves date back to the 1800's. Revolutionary and Civil War veterans were laid to rest here. I love the noise of the train going by in the distance. I love watching the building change over the years. There's something about the decay of the graves and building that is tragic and beautiful to me. I love the old architecture, and I love the way nature is taking over. To me, this is a small piece of Rochester that is unique simply because it exists.
As I walk around, I think about is how truly intoxicating time is. There is something so enchanting about what happens without the interaction of humans. This is what brings me to these places, what feeds my love of exploring and adventure. This old cemetery and this old church always amaze me. It may not be much, but it is just one of the many places in our city I will always come back to. While there have been plenty of changes and people who played a part in this building's evolution, so much natural mystery and beauty is left behind.
Our first short story comes from Julie Adner, a former interviewee and avid Rochester explorer.
Hi! My name is Julie. I've lived in Rochester all 26 years of my life. Rochester has always been a playground of adventure for me. It's full of rich history and unique features that make it one of a kind. I love exploring most of all. Any day I can spend with my camera and venturing in the city is a perfect day to me. Good food, coffee, reading, writing, and my cat are just a few of my favorite things. I'm pretty simple and drawn to the little things in life. I love our community, being apart of it, and making new friends. Thanks again, Maria, for including me in this project! This was right up my alley, and I couldn't have been more excited to put this together.
Let's be friends!