Backstory and Context
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1998, Hope Cemetery dates to 1852 and is the city of Worcester's second garden cemetery. Its 168 acres are a cohesive, planned landscape with paths, ornamental plantings, statues, monuments, and mausoleums [1; 2]. Its burials include African American freedmen, Revolutionaries and abolitionists, Muslims, Jews, and Eastern Orthodox believers, and Civil War veterans . It also contains a Fireman's Monument, Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Monument, a Canadian Cross World War I Monument, and an Orthodox altar . Many of its trees are considered champions, according to the Horticultural Survey and Tree Inventory, including specimens of European Beech; Norway, Red, and Sugar Maples; Sweet Birch; White Cedar, Ash, and Scarlets; Red Oak; and Satsuras .
Hope Cemetery was built to accommodate new burials as Worcester's six older grounds filled or became neglected. It contains burials predating its establishment because remains from Mechanic Street, Tatman, and Pine Meadow cemeteries were reinterred at Hope in the late nineteenth century, followed by reinterments from Worcester Common (the city's oldest surviving burying ground, dating to 1712) during the 1960s. The receiving vault which stands in the cemetery today was constructed in 1872, replacing the original vault, and enlarged in 1887 by local architects Fuller & Delano. The extant cemetery office was constructed in 1882 and enlarged in 1889, along with the addition of a stick-style barn on the grounds; a vault was added to the office in 1930. The 1880s and 1890s were, on the whole, a busy time for Hope Cemetery: the Sons of Israel purchased the city's first lot for Jewish burials in 1881; a community of Norwegian immigrants purchased their own lot in 1884; the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and All Saints Church each bought lots for the burials of indigents and "strangers"; the G.A.R. monument dedicated in 1892 on the Civil War Veterans lot, which was reserved for Worcester's Post 10 unit; and the Worcester Fire Department lot was purchased and its monument (a statue of Simon E. Coombs, fireman for 43 years and department chief from 1872-1891) dedicated in 1896 [1; 2].
In the early twentieth century, the Syrian Brotherhood
Orthodox Society purchased a lot in 1911 and the Mohammedan Committee purchased
a lot for Muslim burials in 1919. In the same year, the Canadian Cross memorial
was dedicated to men and women who served in World War I. In 1917, the Nixon
Gates, which used to be the main entrance, were installed. In 1962, the Garden
of Innocents for the burial of infants was established, and in the 1980s the
Orthodox altar was erected. The cemetery
contains eleven mausoleums in the Gothic, Classical, Egyptian, and Renaissance
Revival styles [1; 2].