The first Mt Hope page highlighted the Carillon and the Maine Korean War Memorial. There are monuments dedicated to the American Revolution and the Civil War too. Bangor actually has ten veteran memorials and many are at Mt Hope. The burial grounds hold the remains of many famous people such as Vice President Hamlin who served during Lincoln’s first term. Be sure to click on the photo gallery.
Mt Hope History
The rural cemetery movement in the United States began in 1831 with the opening of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass. Before this movement occurred, urban cemeteries had been in the midst of towns and cities and were often crowded and virtually grassless. With increasing urbanization, city dwellers began to be concerned about the need for natural beauty. A romantic type landscape was sought as a departure from the disturbing aspects of the city landscape.
At Mount Auburn, a large tract of land was converted into a romantic park with ponds. It was consciously designed for the living as well as the dead. The City of Bangor was not long in following suit. Bangor became very much alive with the settlement of the Penobscot River Valley. In 1834, Bangor was declared a city. Among the citizens of Bangor came a strong sentiment for the creation of a new more attractive cemetery grounds.
Bangor’s Earlier Cemeteries
The first burial lot existed on Thomas Hill. It was soon abandoned and two other burial lots were established, one on the east side of the Kenduskeag Stream and the other where the present YMCA building is located. Few are aware that in 1840 when work was being done, it became necessary to level out the hill that was in the way. After construction began, human remains were occasionally dug up. When the public became aware of a coffin protruding from the ground, actions were taken to properly inter the remains.
Charles G. Bryant
Bryant, during his career, left probably a stronger mark on Bangor’s architectural tone than any other man. His plan for Mt Hope divided the land into two areas, one for burials and the other for horticultural purposes.
On July 21, 1836, at ceremonies, The Honorable Edward Kent, Mayor of Bangor and later Governor of Maine, well expressed the philosophy which engendered the rural cemetery movement when he proclaimed: “A spot situated like this, with the beauties of nature scattered on every hand, is calculated to give a chastened and holy calm to the mind and to lead the thought to study nature in her works and to God as her great author.”
Mount Hope Cemetery ranks among the earliest of American garden cemeteries. There was a new mood across America. This was the general theme with the creation of Central Park in New York City and The Public Gardens in Boston. Bangor Maine was no different in that there was a desire to provide a romanticized rural atmosphere within walking distance to the city.