The growing popularity of cremation is reflected in the place where it began | Local News

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December 6, 1876, was a Saturday, and as the day began in Washington, Americans still didn’t know who was the winner of the previous month’s presidential election. A commission established by Congress ultimately ruled in favor of popular vote loser Rutherford B. Hayes in the New Year. Weeks before, Boss Tweed had been taken to court for the rampant corruption he oversaw in New York, and the day before as many as 300 people had been killed in a fire at the Brooklyn Theater.

In the year 1876, Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for the telephone, and Thomas Edison received a patent for a copying machine called a mimeograph. That Saturday morning, however, D.C. residents and scores of visitors from afar climbed what was then called Gallows Hill to witness a spectacle that had been denounced as ungodly and repugnant.

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