ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Recognizing a neglected aspect of our community’s history — that’s the mission of St. John Fisher faculty at Rochester’s historic Mount Hope Cemetery.

Fisher staff are honoring the hundreds of unmarked gravesites in the public section of the cemetery. It’s a project that started at the beginning of the pandemic.

Organizers say it’s an effort to memorialize those who died in the Monroe County Asylum and Penitentiary during the 19th century, who otherwise did not have this kind of recognition. A memorial has been installed to commemorate their lives.

“The public section of the cemetery, there are a scattering of headstones,” SJFU Professor Ryan Thibodeau said. “The vast majority of people who were buried here are buried in totally unmarked graves. In talking with people it seems to me this is a really neglected aspect of our community history really, so to bring this history to light I think is really important, and I couldn’t be happier we’re able to do that.”

Fisher faculty credit the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Sisters of Saint Joseph for their financial donations to make this project possible. The memorial is now open to the public.