More than three years after a tornado ripped through Mount Hope Cemetery, city officials formally marked the end of repairs this week.
In April 2011, tornadoes tore down trees and heavily damaged headstones and the landscapes at Mount Hope Cemetery, City Cemetery and O’Rorke-Catholic Cemetery.
City officials held a ribbon-cutting on Thursday to celebrate the restoration of Mount Hope Cemetery, south of downtown. In June, the city held a similar celebration at O’Rorke-Catholic Cemetery near St. Augustine’s University.
City Cemetery, on the east side of downtown, is still undergoing repairs.
Mount Hope Cemetery is the city’s largest public cemetery, at 34 acres, and has operated for 142 years. The 2011 tornadoes damaged 120 headstones, felled 50 trees and left behind large amounts of debris.
Many noteworthy Raleigh citizens are buried at the Mount Hope Cemetery, including the Rev. Henry Beard Delany, one of two black bishops of the Episcopal Church at the time of his death; Col. James H. Young, commander of a black regiment during the Spanish-American War; Manassa T. Pope, who practiced medicine and was the first black mayoral candidate in Raleigh; and Clarence E. Lightner who served as Raleigh’s first black mayor from 1973 to 1975.
The city plans to form a volunteer watch program to oversee its three historic cemeteries. For more information, contact Cindy Trumbower at 919-996-3285.