Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Cincinnati Cremation Company

One of the earliest cities in America to adopt cremation was Cincinnati. This was largely due to the support of some prominent citizens of the city, one of which was Benn Pittman, noted stenographer and creator of the American shorthand system. Jane Pittman, Benn's wife, who died in 1878, was one of the first individuals cremated in the LeMoyne Crematory in Washington, Pennsylvania, and was the first female to be cremated in the U.S.
Construction on the Cincinnati Crematory began in 1885, but due to a lack of funds, the crematory was not completed until 1887, and the first cremation took place in June of that year. Though the necessary facility for cremation was in place in 1887, the building was not ready for dedication until 1888.

The Cincinnati Crematory as it appeared after construction.

The original Chapel of the Cincinnati Crematory
The cremation chambers in the basement of the Cincinnati Crematory

The earliest section of columbarium niches in the chapel
of the Cincinnati Crematory.
The chapel of the Cincinnati Crematory after all sections
of the original columbarium had been completed.
In 1941, the Cincinnati Cremation Company renamed their facility to Hillside Chapel. During this time, two large rooms with sections of niches were added at the front of the building and a new office and chapel were erected on the west end of the existing building.

The Hillside Chapel of the Cincinnati Cremation Company
as it appeared after the 1941 addition.
The new (1941) chapel in Hillside Chapel
The Chapel of Light columbarium, part of the 1941 addition
to the Hillside Chapel of the Cincinnati Cremation Co.
To make more niches available for inurnment, the Hillside Chapel added on to the north portion of the building and added the Haven of Rest Columbarium in 1963.

The Haven of Rest Columbarium, completed in 1963.
The complex of the Hillside Chapel as it appears today.
The Hillside Chapel of the Cincinnati Cremation Company is the third-oldest operating crematory in the country.

(Photos are courtesy of the Cincinnati Cremation Co., and the author's collection.)

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