The Garden of Hope is a replica of the tomb of Jesus Christ. At one time, it was considered the finest representation in the United States. It was the vision of Reverend Morris H. Coers, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Covington. He was inspired by a visit to the Holy Land in 1938, knowing that many in the Greater Cincinnati area would never have the opportunity to visit overseas. The 2.5-acre plot of land sits atop Covington, on Edgecliff Avenue in the west end. The site offers a private refuge for meditation and an impressive view.
The centerpiece of the garden is the replica of Jesus tomb in Jerusalem (45 x 22’). Another feature of the garden was the carpenter’s shop. The shop contained historic carpenter’s tools that were donated to the Garden of Hope by Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. The interior of the carpenter’s shop was decorated with a mural executed by local artist LeRoy Coastes. The mural depicted the lives of carpenters in Palestine. The upper floor of the building originally contained a gift shop that sold items from the Holy land. The third building on the site was called the Chapel of Dreams. This structure was modeled after a 17th Century Spanish Mission. The interior of the chapel was adorned with a stained glass window from Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati. Other features of the garden included an Italian marble statue of Jesus delivering the “Sermon on the Mount” and a large stone from the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The Garden of Hope was officially open to the public on Palm Sunday in 1958.
In the early days of operation, The Chapel of Dreams became a popular site for weddings and the tomb was used by various denominations for religious events and sunrise Easter services.
After Reverend Coers died in 1960, the site was often the victim of vandals. Originally, Rev. Coers was buried at the garden but vandalism became so bad that the reverend’s wife had his body moved to a local cemetery. It wasn’t until 1996 that the garden was restored and it was rededicated on Palm Sunday in 1998.
Faith tour, open to the public.
Sources: Kentucky Post, May 22, 1971, January 1, 1993, p. 4K, March 25, 1998, p. 1KK; Western Recorder, September 15, 1998, p. 1; Cincinnati Enquirer, May 23, 1971, and a Brochure in the files of the Kenton County Public Library.