Mount Hope Cemetery - ME
Maine’s oldest rural cemetery and the nation’s second oldest, this cemetery was incorporated in 1834 and consecrated in 1836. Mount Hope was commissioned in response to the establishment of Mount Auburn outside Boston, Massachusetts, a city whose prestige Bangor sought to rival in wealth and stature due to the thriving lumber industry in Maine.
The cemetery began on 50 acres of farmland overlooking the Penobscot River, roughly 2.5 miles from downtown. Charles Bryant, the first Mainer to identify himself as an architect, designed the original 200 family plots at the highest elevation and included a “Garden Lot” for gravesites to be improved with trees, shrubs, and fencing. After additional land acquisitions, civil engineer Charles Green prepared a plan in 1871 with allées of trees, curving carriage roads on existing and altered topography, and new ponds created from dammed streams on the western edge of the site. The cemetery’s park-like qualities attracted visitors who arrived by railroad, horse-drawn trolley, and electric streetcar. In response, a granite-and-bronze waiting room for trolley riders was built in 1928 and remains a significant architectural feature today. Other historic structures include a miniature fort built in 1901 to honor soldiers killed in the Civil War and the Tudor-style superintendant’s lodge from 1909. Now 264 acres, the cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.