Definitions

Cumberland Road

Cumberland Road

Cumberland Road: see National Road.
The City of Cumberland is the county seat of Allegany County, Maryland, United States, and a regional business and commercial center for Western Maryland and the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia. It is the primary city of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, Cumberland had a population of 21,591.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 21,518 people, 9,538 households, and 5,436 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,372.7 people per square mile (916.0/km²). There were 11,143 housing units at an average density of 1,228.7/sq mi (474.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.54% White, 5.06% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.26% from other races, and 1.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.70% of the population.

There were 9,538 households out of which 25.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.0% were non-families. 37.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.90.

City residents have an older demographic profile than the U.S. 22.7% is under the age of 18, 8.2% is from 18 to 24, 25.1% is from 25 to 44, 23.3% is from 45 to 64, and 20.7% is 65 years of age or older. The median age is 41 years compared to a U.S. average of 35.3. Females outnumber males. For every 100 females there are 86.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.3 males.

Population by year
Year Cumberland
pop.
Allegany
pop.
Urban
pop.
Rural
pop.
1790 4,809
1800 6,303
1810 6,909
1820 8,654
1830 1,162 10,590
1840 2,384 15,690
1850 6,105 22,769
1860 7,300 28,348
1870 8,056 38,536
1880 11,300 38,012
1890 12,729 41,571
1900 17,568 53,694
1910 21,839 62,411
1920 29,837 69,938
1930 37,747 79,098
1940 39,483 86,973 50,705 30,054
1950 37,679 89,556 ~52,905 36,651
1960 33,415 84,169 47,723 ~36,446
1970 29,724 84,044 44,207 39,304
1980 25,933 80,548 58,777 ~22,666
1990 23,706 74,946
2000 21,518 74,930
2005 20,915 72,831

The median income for a household in the city was $25,142, and the median income for a family was $34,500. Males had a median income of $29,484 versus $20,004 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,813. About 15.3% of families and 19.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.4% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over. The Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area ranked 305th out of 318 metropolitan areas in per capita income.

In 2007, Forbes ranks the Cumberland Metro as having the 6th lowest cost of living in the country based on an index of cost of housing, utilities, transportation and other expenditures

In 2007, The Baltimore Sun newspaper citing the National Association of Realtors figures on home prices stated that while most areas currently stagnant, Cumberland home prices are rising by more than 17%, the highest in the country. (The Sun, 06/29/07)

In July 2007, Washington Post writer Stephanie Cavanaugh wrote that the great quality of living in Cumberland has attracted many urbanities to the area. (07/14/2007, Real Estate Section)

According to the 2000 Census, educational achievement levels of the city residents lag behind those of Allegany County and the state of Maryland. High school diploma attainment figures for residents 25 years of age and older are lower than the state average (83.8%), with Allegany County at 79.9% and Cumberland at 79.3%. Furthermore, only 13.0% of city residents 25 years of age and older hold at least an undergraduate degree. The comparable figures for Allegany County and Maryland residents are 14.1% and 31.4% respectively.

Ancestries are:

Population decline from 1950-1990 was due to a string of industrial plant closures. The 1987 closure of the Kelly Springfield Tire Plant marks a turning point, as the last major manufacturing plant in the city limits to close its doors.

The year 2004 marked the first year in several decades where the population of Cumberland actually increased year-over-year by 0.61 percent. Today, the population of the Cumberland area has stabilized with a 0.02% change in the County's population from 1990 to 2000. A small decline in city's population occurred between 1990 and 2000 and again between 2000 and 2005.

References:


Geography

Overview

Cumberland is located in the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians at (39.647687, -78.762869), at the junction of the North Branch of the Potomac River, and Wills Creek. Interstate 68 runs through the city in an east/west direction. U.S. Highway 220 runs north/south.

The majority of the land within the city lies in a valley created by the junction of the previously mentioned streams. Parts of Wills Mountain, Haystack Mountain and Shriver Ridge are also within the city limits. Cumberland is situated at the entrance to Cumberland Narrows, a natural gateway carved by Wills Creek through the Allegheny Mountains west to the Ohio River Valley.

The abandoned Chesapeake and Ohio Canal has its Western Terminus here, and it is possible to travel by foot or on bike from here to Washington, D.C. along the canal towpath - a distance of roughly .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.1 square miles (23.5 km²), of which, 9.1 square miles (23.5 km²) of it is land and 0.11% is water.

This was the terminus, and namesake, of the Cumberland Road.

Neighborhoods and surrounding areas

  • North End is a neighborhood in Cumberland bounded by Wills Creek to the south, Frederick Street to the East, and the city line on the west and north. Once known as "The Queen City", the neighborhood is a mix of residential, industrial, and commercial buildings. Some of the large industries found in this neighborhood include breweries, glass factories, and tanneries. These industries are now defunct, although many of the industrial buildings are still used for warehousing.

Most of the residential housing stock in North End was constructed to house industrial workers, and date from the middle and late 19th century. The housing stock is characterized by adjoining brick rowhouses and duplexes, set on small lots with narrow streets. As you move east to west through the neighborhood, the house lots become larger, the streets wider, and the housing stock more recent. Due to the age of the housing stock, many North End streets contain large numbers of vacant and deteriorating buildings. This neighborhood has been targeted by the City Government for housing rehabilitation and blight removal.
Most of the commercial businesses in North End are located on Mechanic and Centre streets. Included among them are convenience stores, restaurants, car dealerships, and small boutiques.

  • South Cumberland, also known as South End, is the largest neighborhood in Cumberland both geographically and by population. It is bounded by the CSX mainline to the south, Williams Street to the north, the Potomac River to the west, and the city line to the east. The neighborhood is historically and currently a mix of residential, industrial, and commercial buildings.

The residential character of the neighborhood is highly varied. Much of the housing stock in the area around Virginia Ave dates from the late 19th and early 20th century and was constructed to house workers from the neighborhood's industrial concerns. As with many of the city's older neighborhoods, this area contains many vacant and deteriorating structures. Local community groups, such as the Chapel Hill West neighborhood group, have taken positive steps to help improve aging structures, and beautify the area. The streets around Memorial Hospital are characterized by larger lots and sizeable free-standing homes. Many of the health care professionals that work at the hospital live in this area. Lastly, the blocks near the eastern edge of the neighborhood were developed in the middle of the 20th century and contain wider streets and a variety of housing styles and materials.
There are still many industrial enterprises located in South End. The western part of the neighborhood specifically contains many warehouses and other small industries.
The commercial mainstreet of South End is Virginia Ave. Virginia Avenue historically acted as the main shopping area for the residents of South End and contained men's and women's clothing stores, movie theaters, and specialty retail stores. Virginia Avenue's commercial importance has declined since the middle of the 20th century due to the opening of enclosed shopping centers and strip malls. The Avenue (as locals call it) still contains numerous antique shops, bars, and specialty stores. Location of Greenway Avenue Stadium, the joint home of the Fort Hill Sentinels and Allegany Campers..

  • West Side is a neighborhood in Cumberland bounded by the Potomac River to the south, Wills Creek to the north and east, the city line on the west. The neighborhood is a mix of residential, governmental, and some commercial buildings. West Side was the first part of Cumberland to be settled by the British colonists. Fort Cumberland, a military and trade outpost was built on a hill just west of Wills Creek in the 1750s. The early growth of the city was centered around the fort. The oldest existing building in West Side, and for that matter, all of Cumberland, The George Washington Headquarters was built during this time period. The ground formerly occupied by Fort Cumberland is known home to many county government offices. The Allegany County Courthouse, County Library, and County Board of Education are among the most government buildings. The majority of the buildings surrounding these governmental offices are used for commercial purposes. Many law offices, accounting firms, real estate offices, doctor's office, and many other small businesses are located in this area. Allegany High School, which serves Cumberland's North and West sides, as well as the outlying communities of LaVale and Cresaptown, is located in this area on Rose Hill.

Residential land use becomes dominant as you move west from the site of former fort. Many of Cumberland's largest and most valuable houses are located here. The housing stock ranges in age from the mid 19th century closer to the former fort, to the middle of the 20th century near the city line to the west. Some of Cumberland's newest developments are located on Haystack Mountain near the city line.
The only substantial industrial land use in West Side is Riverside Industrial Park. This site was the former location of the Kelly Springfield Tire factory. Most of the factory has been torn down, including its impressive twin smoke stacks. Some of the outbuildings are still standing and used for warehousing.

  • East Side is a neighborhood in Cumberland bounded by Williams St. to the south, Frederick St. to the west, and the city line to the north and east. The predominate land uses in East Side are residential and recreational. Two large hills, McKaig's Hill and Fort Hill dominate the landscape of East Side. There is little flat land and thus the residential development is less dense in East Side when compared to other parts of the city. The small amount of at-grade land is located at the western edge of the neighborhood. This area, now know as Decatur Heights, is a mid to late 19th century residential neighborhood contains both rowhouses and impressive free standing homes. East Side contains several new housing developments, one located on Decatur St., the other located towards the top of McKaig's Hill.
    Due to its steep topography, East Side is heavily forested. The largest park in the city, Constitution Park is located in this neighborhood. Constitution Park contains a public swimming pool, basketball courts, tennis courts, and playground equipment.
  • Downtown
  • Little Egypt
  • Bowling Green
  • Wills Mountain
  • Haystack Maryland
  • Shriver Ridge

Nearby cities and towns

All cities are in Maryland, unless otherwise noted and are in order of distance.

History

Cumberland, Maryland is named after the son of King George II, Prince William, the Duke of Cumberland. It is built on the site of the old Fort Cumberland, the starting point for British General Edward Braddock's ill-fated attack on the French strong-hold of Fort Duquesne (located on the site of present-day Pittsburgh) during the French and Indian War. (See Braddock expedition.)

Cumberland was also an outpost of Colonel George Washington during the French and Indian War and his first military headquarters was built here. Washington later returned to Cumberland as President in 1794 to review troops that had been assembled to thwart the Whiskey Rebellion.

Cumberland was a key road, railroad and canal junction during the 1800s and at one time the second largest city in Maryland (second to the port city of Baltimore--hence its nickname "The Queen City"). The surrounding hillsides provided coal, iron ore, and timber that helped supply the Industrial Revolution. In addition, the city was a major manufacturing center, with industries in glass, breweries, fabrics, and tinplate. However, following World War II, it began to lose much of its industrial importance and its population declined from 39,483 residents in the 1940 census to fewer than 22,000 today.

Climate

Cumberland experiences four distinct seasons, including warm summers and cold winters. Temperatures around are common in the winter months, while temperatures can reach in the summer.
Average Temperatures
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
°F 30.2 33.8 42.6 52.8 62.1 70.1 74.4 72.8 65.7 53.8 43.5 34.1
Monthly Average High Temperatures
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
°F 39.9 44.9 55.0 66.7 75.8 83.4 87.2 85.6 78.6 67.3 54.7 43.7
Monthly Average Low Temperatures
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
°F 20.4 22.6 30.1 38.9 48.5 56.9 61.6 60.1 52.9 40.4 32.3 24.6
Monthly Average Precipitation
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
inches 2.9 2.4 3.3 3.2 4.0 3.1 3.4 3.5 3.2 2.7 2.9 2.6

Education

The offices of Allegany County Public Schools are located in Cumberland. ACPS compete in a number of academic competitions for students, including the Stock Market Game, Science Olympiad, Science Fair, Spell-A-Thon, Maryland Facts Quiz Bowl, the National Children's Creative Writing Contest Elementary and Middle School Spectra Quiz Bowl, Math Counts, Mock Trial Teams, Secretarial Science Contest Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee, Voice of Democracy, and the Maryland Science Quest.

Athletic programs also abound, with competition in everything from football, soccer, baseball, volleyball and track to tennis, bowling, wrestling and golf.

Schools

  • Middle schools
    • Washington Middle School
    • Braddock Middle School
  • Elementary schools
    • Bel Air Elementary School
    • John Humbird Elementary School
    • Northeast Elementary School
    • South Penn Elementary
    • West Side Elementary School
    • Creasptown Elementary School

Area colleges and universities

All four listed are within a short drive from Cumberland, though only one is located in Cumberland itself.

Libraries

Approximately 39,000 people hold library cards in Allegany County ("Most citizens give libraries high grades", Cumberland Times News, October 10, 2006). Regional Libraries include:

Employers

Significant city employers include:

  • Western Maryland Health System, which employs approximately 2,300 people, making it Cumberland's largest employer.
  • Allegany County government.
  • CSX: Located west of Baltimore, Md., the Cumberland Locomotive Maintenance Facility is a vital point on CSX's Chicago to Baltimore mainline. It employs 273 people at Cumberland shops and 600 men and women in Cumberland.
  • Allegany College of Maryland employs approximately 800 people.
  • the call center of ACS Inc.,which employs about 400 people.
  • City of Cumberland, employing approximately 300 people.
  • Hunter Douglas: a facility, with 580 plus employees, which makes this location the largest Hunter Douglas fabrication plant in the world. The company is Allegany County's sixth largest employer.
  • Biederlack of America a leading manufacturer of jacquard woven high-pile acrylic blankets and throws.
  • Western Correctional Institution State Prison, employs 550 people; a number of other people are employed at the Federal Prison and the new Maximum Security Prison all in close proximity to Cumberland
  • The Kelly Springfield Tire Company
  • Infospherix employs approximately 375 - 400 people. Infospherix is a call center that handles inbound reservations for state camp grounds, as well as several Federal contracts. Infospherix was formerly known as BioSpherics.
  • Ray Of Hope, Inc. an organization that provides assisted living units for mentally and physically handicapped adults for over 20 years.

Hospitals

Utilities

  • Water and sewer service is supplied by the City of Cumberland. The municipal watershed is located to the north within the State of Pennsylvania. Water is drawn from two lakes on city land, Gordon and Koon.
  • Electricity service supplied by Allegheny Power
  • Natural gas service supplied by Columbia Gas of Maryland
  • There was once a working oil well that pumped crude oil from a location near today’s Fruit Bowl in the Narrows.

Transportation

Within the city

The primary public transportation in the City of Cumberland is bus service provided by Allegany County Transit. This service is fairly extensive, consisting of five scheduled routes that reach most areas of the City and providing access to most public facilities. The bus depot is located in the South End to the west of Virginia Avenue on Lafayette Avenue. The Allegany County Transit Authority also serves LaVale, Frostburg, Lonaconing, Mt. Savage, and Cresaptown.

Highways

Cumberland's roadway system consists of a series of interconnected grids defined by natural and man-made barriers including steep slopes, the Potomac River, Wills Creek, rail lines, and I-68. Originally developed for a larger population than currently lives in Cumberland, the overall system is generally adequate to accommodate existing levels of traffic. Major highway arteries serving the Cumberland area include:

Railways

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides intercity service to Cumberland over the Capitol Limited rail line, which connects Washington, D.C. to Chicago, Illinois. The Cumberland Amtrak Station is located downtown at Queen City Drive and East Harrison Street.

Airports

Cumberland is almost equidistant from four major airports: Washington National Airport, Dulles International Airport, Baltimore Washington International Airport, and Pittsburgh International Airport, all of which are at least two and one-half hours by car from the city. The Greater Cumberland Regional Airport (Airport-ID: CBE) provides local air transportation to the Cumberland area. The airport is located in West Virginia, to the south of the Potomac River, which forms the boundary between the City of Cumberland and Mineral County, West Virginia. Formerly owned by the City of Cumberland, the airport is now owned and operated by a bi-state intergovernmental airport authority whose members ar four representatives from West Virginia and five from Maryland. In addition, Mexico Farms Airport (Airport-ID: 1W3) is also located in Cumberland.

Local media

Cumberland has several media outlets, most carry some form of satellite programming. WCBC-AM and the Cumberland Times-News, while WFRB-FM have some local news content, but do not actively collect it. The closest public radio station is WFWM, Frostburg, MD. Allegany Magazine is a recent media addition.

Aside from some local news programming, virtually no mass media content originates from Cumberland. The local media tends to rebroadcast Hagerstown and Washington, D.C. television stations for news coverage.

Tourism

Tourist attractions in the area include:

Annual and seasonal events

  • Heritage Day Festival, Washington St. (Mid June)
  • Farmer's Market, every Saturday downtown (From June to November)
  • Sunday in the Park: free concerts every Sunday evening in Constitution Park Amphitheater in South Cumberland, sponsored by the Allegany Arts Council. (From May to September)
  • CanalFest, located at Canel Place (mid July)
  • Allegany County Fair and Expo (mid July)
  • Homecoming: ALCO v. FHS: First or second weekend before Thanksgiving at Greenway Ave Stadium. Homecoming is the final regular season football game for Cumberland's two public high schools Allegany High School and Fort Hill High School. Attendance at the game averages between 8,000 - 10,000 (approximately one-half of the population of the city).
  • Tri-State Concert Series concerts throughout the year from the golden age of rock-n-roll, swing, and big-band as well as popular country and choral music.
  • Western Maryland Street Rod Roundup: Over 1000 pre-1949 street rods featuring rod jousting, crafts, food, entertainment, parts vendors, vote for your favorite car. Allegany County Fairgrounds (Labor Day Weekend)
  • Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Open-House: This event centers around the annual lighting of the City Christmas Tree in the heart of Downtown Cumberland where streets filled with Cumberland residents come to see the mayor throw the switch on the tree and participate in the sights, sounds and joy of the holiday season. During the event there are several live musical performances at prominent businesses in the city center, including holiday choral and jazz vocal performances; as well as, galleries exhibiting local artists, including ceramics, photography, metal sculpture, jewelry and water color. (First day after Thanksgiving, aka Black Friday)
  • "The Ball Drop" every New Year's Eve in Downtown Cumberland.
  • Bluegrass Jam Session: Every Sunday evening at the Queen City Creamery from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm or later. Free admission.
  • The Great Allegany Run: Every October. 15K run from Mount Savage, Maryland to Downtown Cumberland; 5K run in Cumberland; walk on C&O Canal; and Kids' Run.
  • Halloween Parade: Every October in South Cumberland.
  • Homecoming Parade: Every November in downtown Cumberland.

Architecture

Some of Cumberland's most architecturally significant homes are located in the Historic District of Washington Street. Considered the elite residential area when the city was at its economic peak, Washington Street was home to the region's leading citizens including the president of the C&O Canal. Significant public buildings include the Allegany County Courthouse, Allegany County Library, and Emmanuel Episcopal Church, located on the site of Fort Cumberland. It features Gothic Revival architecture with three large Tiffany windows, fort tunnels, and ammunition magazine cellars.

The Emmanuel Episcopal Church, standing at the eastern end of the Washington Street Historic District, is one of Maryland's most outstanding examples of early Gothic Revival architecture.

The Allegany County Courthouse dominates the city's skyline. It was designed in 1893 by local architect Wright Butler.

The Queen City Hotel was built by the B&O during the 1870s. The battle to preserve it was lost when the building was demolished in 1972.

The Stone Cottage, which is just outside of Cumberland, is an architecturally significant structure resembling an early medieval country French rural cottage built in 2006.

Sister city

Popular culture

Noted residents and natives

Notes

References

  • Will H. Lowdermilk, History of Cumberland, first published 1878, reprinted by Clearfield Co., October 1997, Paperback, ISBN 0-8063-7983-9. Full Text Online
  • Amanda Paul, Tom Robertson, Joe Weaver, Cumberland, Arcadia Publishing, Copyright Oct 1, 2003, Paperback, ISBN 0-7385-1498-5
  • Joseph H Weaver, Cumberland, 1787-1987: A Bicentennial History, Published by the City of Cumberland and the Cumberland Bicentennial Committee, January 1, 1987, ASIN B0007165K6
  • Mike High, The C&O Canal Companion, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8018-6602-2
  • Mark D. Sabatke, Discovering The C&O Canal, Schreiber Publishing, 2003, ISBN 1-887563-67-9
  • Allan Powell, Fort Cumberland, Publisher Allan R Powell, 1989, ISBN 0-9619995-2-7
  • Albert L Feldstein, Feldstein's Historic postcard album of Allegany County, Commercial Press Print. Co, 1984, ASIN B0006YQW5C
  • Albert L. Feldstein, Feldstein's Historic Coal Mining and Railroads of Allegany County, Maryland, Publisher Albert L Feldstein, 2000, ISBN 0-9701605-0-X (This book consists of 135 historic Allegany County, Maryland coal mining and railroad related photographs. These are primarily from the early 1900s. Accompanying each depiction is an historical narrative with facts, figures, dates and other information. Included within this number are 23 biographies of individuals associated with the history of coal mining in the region.)
  • Albert L. Feldstein, Allegany County (Images of America: Maryland), Arcadia Publishing, 2006, ISBN 0-7385-4381-0 (features Allegany's towns and communities, downtown business scenes, residential areas, industries, historic buildings, churches, schools, hospitals, floods, parades, coal mining, railroad stations, and historic and natural landmarks. In some cases, the personal messages sent on the back of the postcards are included.)
  • Census of population and housing (2000): Maryland Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Summary, DIANE Publishing, ISBN 1-4289-8582-4

External links

Local heritage

Area State Parks

Local maps

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