Highland Park, Mt Hope Cem, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

HIKE ANNOUNCEMENT – Highland Park, Mount Hope Cemetery, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”  – SATURDAY, July 5th, 2014 – We Hike at 4:00PM

This Highland Park & Mt Hope Cemetery (MHC) hike is a multi-faceted combo hike event, and does include routing for an ADA accessible hike component. Optional potluck after-hike social & optional Shakespeare in the Park comedy play are two of the facets of this combo hike. Further explanations below.

(Please note for hikers who like to print the Hike Announcement for Directions to the hike, this info is at the head of this Hike Announcement, affording convenience of printing just one page or two pages. ***QUICK TUTORIAL–>In ‘print parameters’ (hold down the ‘control’ key & press the ‘p’ key) — for “pages” to print instead of selecting “all” by default, you can enter specific page numbers. Choose either “1” or “1-2” for pages to print within print parameters. (More advanced options, if provided for, allow you to “select” a segment of text and print just the selection. This “print selection” feature may or may not be available to you.)

HighlandHIKE MEET AND START POINT: ( 43.1318, -77.6101 ~ GPS coordinates for parking & “trailhead”) In Highland Park Bowl (south side of the bowl) at the 1899 Frederick Douglass Statue, which is just north of Reservoir Avenue (aka Dr aka Rd) and just west of South Ave. Parking on north side of Reservoir Ave just west of South Ave adjacent the periphery of Highland Park Bowl. (A possible address to enter in a mapping program or device would be 100 or 110 Reservoir Avenue, which would be ~ corresponding with the meet locale). At 4:00PM we hike, ~3:45PM is designated announcements, introductions, hike-group formations, and logistics. This is the time you may offer input for tailoring what you want to see while on this hike, so if you want input arrive before hike start.

DIRECTIONS TO THE HIKE AND SOCIAL: From any points south of Rochester’s city limits. Via I-390, NYS Rt 15A, or otherwise, … get yourself to the reference point of NYS Rt 15A northbound from intersection of I-390 Exit #16 (which is just north of Monroe Community College’s main Brighton campus).  {For purpose of clarity: use Exit # sixteen, not eighteen nor sixteen A nor sixteen B, written for numeric delineation of text print and to quash other possible confusion.}  Head north on Rt 15A aka East Henrietta Rd, cross over the Erie Canal and then cross Westfall Rd, at the next traffic light bear right at the “Y” onto South Ave. As you continue northbound on South Ave cross Elmwood Ave and Highland Ave, and then two blocks after crossing Highland Ave (or one block after passing the firehouse), turn left onto Reservoir Ave and park your vehicle where signs indicate allowed. (Parking is on north side of Reservoir Ave just west of South Ave, preferably adjacent the periphery of Highland Park Bowl. This likely provides shade for our parked cars.)

CARPOOLING LOCATIONS: Self-directed carpools to form as follows: (first location) Springwater Town Hall – plan to leave promptly at 2:30PM.  (as a second sequential location, ~13 minutes drive from the first) Hemlock Lake Park (parking lot on Rix Hill Rd) at the north end of Hemlock Lake – plan to leave at 2:45PM. It would be advised that Springwater & Hemlock location carpoolers coordinate/cooperate with each other on times. Bear in mind that you may need time to shift chairs, blankets, dish-to-pass food for the social, etc from one car to another. Hikers carpooling should delineate who is and who is not staying for the Shakespeare production, and group accordingly. Bear in mind for Shakespeare attendees, you will be returning to carpool origin in darkness of night.

The Highland Park hike location is ~ 23 miles as the crow flies from Hemlock Park, headwaters of Rochester’s water system. Likely city supplied water travels further than that through pipeline routing, and you will definitely drive more miles than that in a non-linear surface road route to arrive at the hike.

HIKE EXPLANATORY: This Independence Day weekend the Springwater Trails hike will be on Saturday, July 5th instead of Sunday, and will be held in Highland Park which is one of the original Frederick Law Olmsted designed parks in the City of Rochester Parks System, with origins in 1888 as a gift of George Ellwanger & Patrick Barry, then prominent local nurserymen and seed purveyors. They also championed the Sept 29, 1890 dedicated Highland Park Children’s Pavilion (which provided great viewpoints from 3 stories atop the hill in Highland Park), razed in 1963 due to deterioration, there are efforts underway to rebuild it. We will be hiking thru an arboretum, city forest plantation, botanical park, hiking past scenic Highland Reservoir with elevation of 635 feet above sea level and aerating fountain (one of 3 reservoirs maintained for city water supply purposes), and avail of a high viewing point of vista near and far. The park is set in glacial created land formations, with some man-made alterations. The hill top area (pinnacle) near the reservoir and the vista point is known for it breezes, welcome on a warm day. Warner Castle and its sunken gardens are unique to the park, as is a particular Katsura tree along the main lilac planting area, and so much more. Contiguous to Highland Park, Mount Hope Cemetery grounds (map) , founded 1838, will also be in part included in this hike. This cemetery is the first municipally owned Victorian Cemetery in the US.

Being that deer population is very low and Poison Ivy scantly present, and being that we will not be bush-whacking but instead mostly hiking among paths, mowed groomed grass areas, maintained plantations, and even some roadways, shorts and short sleeves is an acceptable attire.

Raspberries are present at select various locales and some will be ripe, and mostly there is NOT a lot of reaching deeply into thorny thickets as the bushes tend to be located in transition from grassy area to woods. Sour Cherries, Mulberries (purple), Wild Strawberries & Serviceberries are also possibilities to be had in hike routing if hikers are desiring snacking on such. Some plants &/or trees may be in bloom, but most are past blooming. Latest of Magnolias, latest of the Iris, latest of Dogwood, specific flower bed plantings, small morning glory shaped blooms among grasses, and more may be blooming, and there are and lilies in the lily pond!

Any “Plan B” necessitated alteration or cancellation of hike, social, or Shakespeare due to weather will be posted to the S/T website on hike day, hopefully by 12Noon.

HIKE ROUTINGS: for Climbers, Tourists, Naturalists, and Flatlanders will in part depend on desires of those who show-up for the hike. Yes, these hike’s routings can be that flexible, … so have any requests in mind to voice prior to hike start. And, no, you will not be able to “do it all” in our two hour hike time. A Flatlanders “ADA accessible” hike routing on paved paths as a component of this hike, is provided for. Hike Leaders and maps are provided for. We have a number of hikers in Springwater Trails familiar with the trails and terrain in this park and the contiguous cemetery. Hills to climb, albeit they are comparatively small, are to be had for those looking to “climb”. Hikers willing to do the longest hike, or make a side trip via car may enjoy bounty of a few Serviceberry trees if any fruit remains for the picking (birds like ’em). Bear in mind that even the Climbers at constant fast pace can not cover the entirety of the park & cemetery, let alone any periphery, so routing is in part Hike Leader &/or group decision.

AFTER-HIKE SOCIAL (optional): at about 6 PM is a dinner, pot-luck bring a dish to pass, or make a suggested $5 donation to the social fund to help defray costs of incidentals for socials.  BBQ Pulled Pork provided by host, Ice Cream, and more… as picnic fare.  Bring a beverage of your choice, … provided for will be a small ice chest with ice cubes for adding to beverages (and limited beverages).    Plan A – Location will be in the area of Highland Park Bowl, perhaps near the Frederick Douglass and Goethe statues (south side of the bowl), essentially adjacent where we will park and meet for the hike, where we will use our own tables and chairs under cover of huge shade trees. Plan B – Alternative Location is along south side of Robinson Dr (west of the bowl, aka behind the bowl) where there may be two picnic tables with benches. Plan C – picnic tables near the hilltop overlook adjacent Highland Reservoir, and Plan D picnic tables adjacent the Monroe County Parks Dept Administrative Offices at 171 Reservoir Ave. Plan E – at front or rear of Warner Castle located at 5 Castle Pk. Default is Plan A, but exact location is dependent on what may be occupied prior to the time of the social, and sun/temperature/weather on hike day. (This detailed info is provided for benefit of late arrivals.)

AFTER THE SOCIAL, SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK PRODUCTION (optional): Starting at 8:00PM at Highland Park Bowl outdoor amphitheater there is a FREE production of Rochester Community Players / Shakespeare Players “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” the premier night. The production of this comedy play written by Shakespeare will uniquely be performed in dual character. What was that? Yep, you read right, … I am told the play will have two actors on stage for each character role, one performing the spoken character and the other performing the character in ASL &/or ASL interpreted. So, a unique opportunity to see some theater by both hearing friends and non-hearing friends who are ASL language users.

Some park benches are likely available, but blankets and chairs are likely beneficial to bring. There is a Shakespeare concessions tent with plenty of cold soft-drinks, popcorn, brownies and candy, of which proceeds go toward play production costs. If you want some cold libations with a bit more intoxicating effect, bring ’em along, as possible added fuel to laugh at this Shakespeare comedy all the more. Likely there will be a pass-the-hat type optional donation to support the production. There is a 15 minute intermission, and the play is expected to end between 10:15 & 10:30 PM.

HIKER NICETIES AND FACILITIES: Many S/T hikes are held in the Hemlock & Candice Lakes watershed which are supplying to the City of Rochester water system, common knowledge among most S/T hikers. In Highland Park adjacent Highland Reservoir on the eastside of “Gatehouse No.2” (constructed 1902), you can avail yourself of the end-product of the City’s water system at a drinking fountain. Consider this a Highland-Hemlock connection, figuratively and literally. — Otherwise, some limited availability of water and restroom facilities at Highland Park & Mount Hope Cemetery exist. Cemetery, many water spigots, but restrooms only open when the office is open, thus closed during our hike time. Highland Park varied restroom availability: 10AM-4PM restroom & water at Lamberton Conservatory located in Highland Park. After 4PM in Highland Park, it all depends, but a flush toilet and water in at least minimal locations in the park on this prime summer day & time we are hiking (including at the music pavilion for Shakespeare).

Some areas of the park are open and unshaded, and other areas are like a forest walk totally covered by shade of high tree canopy, … point being hat & sunglasses may be desirable for some hikers. Maybe a water bottle.

If you are staying for the optional Shakespeare in the Park production which starts at 8PM, for your comfort you may appreciate a change of clothes (perhaps pants & long sleeves) or not, for protection from mosquitoes. For those who really have comfort in cleaning up after a hike and before the show a towel &/or washcloth may be of use, but note there are no showers at this park. Bug repellent may also be desired by some &/or cover blankets or similar for use during the show, &/or chairs.

This is a carry-in carry-out park, so we will be bagging and removing any trash we generate at our social. For hikers who wish to see cleaner parks and act on that desire, plastic bags can be used to pick up trash seen along the hike. On this hike, well behaved and cleaned up after dogs are allowed (BYOB), per park regulation. There are no “doggie stylized drinking fountains” at this park. Bear in mind if staying for Shakespeare, dogs should be “appreciating of the arts” well-behaved, so as not to disturb other human Shakespeare goers & dogs or other pets.

For hikers who attend this hike, please assess whether a further hike in this area perhaps on Nov 16th for late autumn foliage appreciation and to provide safe hiking on the 1st Sunday of gun deer hunting season may be of interest to you.  Possibility may exist to participate in a tour hike as was held in Nov 2013 as is cited in Highland Park Neighborhood Association website article.

CHECK LIST, as possibilities (many are if staying for optional social &/or Shakespeare):
—ice cubes for drinks will be provided at the hike in a very small ice chest—

change of socks, shoes, & clothes
towel &/or washcloth
a bag for clothing
water bottle (partly ice-filled to perhaps endure)
chair &/or blanket
bug repellent
hat & sunglasses, sunscreen
dish to pass or donation to social fund
cash for concessions during the play
drink of your choice
Jimmy Buffet

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NOTE: ALL OF THE BELOW IS NON-ESSENTIAL TO THE HIKE, but is added info likely of varying interest among some hikers.

Additional opportunities (optional before the hike):
 —Lamberton Conservatory at 180 Reservoir Ave in Highland Park is open 10AM-4PM.  $3 admit, $2 admit for age 62 & over and ages 6-12.  Established 1911, total historic reconstruction 2009.   phone: (585)-753-7270        
–Mount Hope Cemetery, solitary walk. Gates open at 7:30AM & close around dusk. “Buried Treasures in Mt Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York: a pictorial field guide” by Richard O. Reisem, book that is a good resource for use when walking the cemetery.  Available for loan from some libraries.
Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial walk in south section of Highland Park.
–4-H nature trail behind Cornell Coop Extension Center (formerly known as Farm and Home Center) in south section of Highland Park.  (Do not bare-handedly move the vine and foliage growing on a particular interpretive sign post of an particular oak tree in order to better read the sign, the vine is Poison Ivy. One of two locations I know of it existing at Highland Park.) 
Brainfood (optional info): The original Highland Park donated parcel (19.63 acres) adjoined the lands of the 1875 city reservoir, while present day land mass of Highland Park ~ 155 acres.  The park can be loosely viewed as 4 sections: the main area, south area, north area, and southeast area.   In 1961 much of Rochester’s major parks lands, Highland Park included, in agreement with Monroe County were designated to be maintained by the Monroe County Parks Dept.    
* On the Highland Reservoir lower gatehouse (1875 constructed of orange brick, and not numbered since it was the original) which still stands today, you will find a plaque mounted expounding some about the origins of Rochester’s water system from Hemlock & Canadice Lakes.  Be sure to use caution in reading as there may be a nest of agitated bees adjacent the sign on a warm sunny summer day. (Remember late June, July, August, & September is sting season, and the latter half increases likelihood of being swarmed and chased.)
** Frederick Law Olmsted is known as the father of Landscape Architecture, and while he designed parks, cemeteries, and many privately owned areas far & wide from the WNY area, Rochester has one of only four municipal park systems in the US designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted’s sons continued his legacy in Landscape Architecture.
*** Highland Reservoir (originally known as Mt Hope Reservoir back at its 1876 construction)  is one of 3 reservoirs (all are gravity fed), north of Hemlock Lake maintained for city water supply purposes.  …Can you name the other two, and have you ever been to each?  Hemlock & Canadice Lakes and surrounding watersheds are of course the supplier of precious water for the Rochester Water Works.  
**** And did you know that at one point in time Rochester fought for and won the rights to utilize Honeoye Lake as a municipal water source?  Implementation of the plan would have flooded a substantial area north of Honeoye Lake, including present day Village of Honeoye.  The plan never came to fruition after the city having won its court case.  Rochester was anticipated to become a city of 2 million people, but that prediction did not come about.  Likely lesser population growth & other factors played into the Honeoye Lake and surrounds we know today.
***** There is a statue of Frederick Douglass which stands in Highland Park Bowl.  Also formerly there was a separate educational plaque near Highland Bowl telling of where a house was located in which Douglass once lived, the plaque is now gone.  The statue’s original location (Central Avenue just east of St Paul St) when erected was adjacent Rochester’s 3rd NYCentral rail station (1882-1914), and then in 1941 was subsequently moved from that location due at least in part to congestion of the area. (Think current-day inner loop expressway and access roads & ramps for congestion, rail station moved east of Clinton Ave,  and more.)  Since 1941 the statue has stood in Highland Park Bowl.
******Frederick Douglass was asked to give a speech at Rochester’s Corinthian Hall in 1852 commemorating July 4th Independence Day. The oration on July 5th was a eye-opener for some as well as unexpected in content, and The 5th of July would become reference to Independence of Afro-American slaves and their “freed” family and brother-en.  Douglass attained much life status as an educated man and lived in Rochester .  He was a very substantial piece of the underground railroad to move escaped slaves to freedom.  While living in Rochester his residence on South Avenue located in the area of current #12 school burned.
******* Highland Park Conservancy strives to advocate for the park lands and preservation of history, including impetus to rebuild a Children’s Pavilion, in deference to the Sept 29, 1890 dedicated Children’s Pavilion razed in 1963 due to structural deterioration.  
Tidbits: *Highland (Park) Bowl, is the site of film screenings in the summertime, as well as a sometimes concert venue. Yesteryear it was home to former Opera in the Park and numerous band concerts at the 1937 constructed and dedicated John Dunbar Music Pavilion where we will be experiencing a Shakespeare in the Park production.

* There is a Poets’ Garden in the park commemorated on the 300th year of Shakespeare’s death. Many other memorial garden areas for individuals or specific groups are also in the park.
* The south section of Highland Park is former location of long standing structure(s) utilized as Monroe County Almshouse, Insane Asylum, & Penitentiary, razed in the 1970s &/or 80s, and in 1980s excavation numerous apparent graves were found and remains reinterred at Mount Hope Cemetery with a group memorial marker which is located in the cemetery behind U of R’s “Hill Court” student housing complex. A marker plaque also is situate at the original interment site.
* What once was celebrated more as “Lilac Sunday” has become a 10 day “Lilac Festival”, albeit Lilac festival has existed for many decades. Rochester and surrounding area has become known as a “festival town” in recent decades, due to so many festivals which are held in the city and outlying towns, many of which are in summer.
* The other original Olmsted designed parks in the 1888 original Rochester Parks System are Rochester’s Seneca Park & Maplewood Park (originally collectively known as North Park), and Genesee Valley Park (originally known as South Park). The southern park had sheep at one time to keep the grass in check (before today’s mowing mechanization), a feature said Olmsted championed.
* Great vistas are also afforded on the campus of Rochester Colgate Divinity School just to the east of Highland Park and Goodman St.
* Mount Hope Cemetery, when founded in 1838, was not only the first municipal rural cemetery in the US but also the largest municipal cemetery. It is the 3rd oldest Victorian Cemetery in the US overall, and the first municipally owned Victorian Cemetery in the US. This cemetery was in forerunning of parting from commonality of small church cemeteries. It provided park like settings utilized by area residents when there were no parks. Rochester, the first boomtown in the US which was created by the combination of fertile farming soil, Erie Canal transportation access starting in 1823, and water power along the Genesee River for milling, flourished as the “flour city in the 1820s-1840s. Flower City designation came about when much flour milling moved westward yet thriving flower & tree nurseries in Rochester were the largest in the country. Many donations of trees were made to the cemetery by nursery owners. .
* The “Al Sigl Center”, at the corner of Elmwood Ave and South Ave, named for Al Sigl whose radio broadcast fame from 1931 and for more than 30 years and who had and instilled in audiences a giving spirit, was championed by Sigl who used his fame for the common good. The Al Sigl Center was designed as a resource for people with disabilities of all types is giving spirit. Today’s Al Sigl Community of Agencies on that campus has grown over many decades, and serves many with varying disabilities.
* webpage for Monroe County Emerald Ash Borer Task Force.

Some further PARK & CEMETERY history reading sources:
Books etc have varying degree of availability.  Many are available at public libraries.
1) A growing legacy, an illustrated history of Rochester’s parks, by Blake McKelvey (1988)
2) More Than Lilacs! Rochester’s Highland Park, by Mary E. Shelsby (2010)
3) Plants of Highland Park, by Bernard E. Harkness (1956)
4) Mount Hope America’s First Municipal Victorian Cemetery, by Richard O Reisen and photos by Frank A. Gillespie (1994)
5) Buried Treasures in Mt Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York: a pictorial field guide, by Richard O. Reisem (2002)
6) A walk through history in Mount Hope Cemetery, a video production by WXXI PBS station. (2013) DVD format
7) Mount Hope: Victorian Rochester; Pioneer Rochester (1989) video VHS format
8) book presented by The Democrat and Chronicle, titled: Rochester Memories Volume II ~ The 1940s, ’50s & ’60s . pg 150 depicts: Spectators jam Children’s Pavilion in Highland park as Lilac time opens on May 19,1960. pg 157 depicts RPO concert in Highland Park Bowl in 1968
9) RVC Rochester — Parks: Highland Park. (scrapbook 1918-1963, two volumes) at Rundel Central Library in Rochester
10) Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY by Mount Hope Cemetery (1904)
11) library and internet searches will yield others, and generic local history books & pictorials are also sources.
12) Highland Park Conservancy website

13) Highland Park Neighborhood Association website

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