Cumberland, Maryland

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Cumberland, Maryland
City
City of Cumberland
Downtown Cumberland in July 2001
Downtown Cumberland in July 2001
Official seal of Cumberland, Maryland
Seal
Nickname(s): "Queen City", "C-Land"
Motto: "Come for a Visit, Stay for Life!"
Location in Allegany County and in Maryland
Location in Allegany County and in Maryland
Coordinates: 39°38′52″N 78°45′46″W / 39.64778°N 78.76278°W / 39.64778; -78.76278Coordinates: 39°38′52″N 78°45′46″W / 39.64778°N 78.76278°W / 39.64778; -78.76278
Country United States of America
State Maryland
County Allegany
Founded 1787
Incorporated 1815
Government
 • Type Council-CEO
 • Mayor Brian Grim
 • City administrator Jeff Rhodes as of December 20, 2011
Area[1]
 • City 10.15 sq mi (26.29 km2)
 • Land 10.08 sq mi (26.11 km2)
 • Water 0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
Elevation 627 ft (191 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 20,859
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 20,572
 • Density 2,069.3/sq mi (799.0/km2)
 • Metro 103,299
 • Demonym Cumberlander
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 21501-21505
Area code(s) 301, 240
FIPS code 24-21325
GNIS feature ID 0590057
Website www.ci.cumberland.md.us

Cumberland, officially the City of Cumberland, is a western gateway city and seat of Allegany County, Maryland, and the primary city of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 20,859, and the metropolitan area had a population of 103,299. Cumberland is a regional business and commercial center for Western Maryland and the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia.

Historically Cumberland was known as the "Queen City," as it was once the second largest in the state. Cumberland is often referred to as "Where the South Begins." Because of its strategic location, after the American Revolution at the time of heavy migration across the Appalachian Mountains by pioneers, it served as a historical outfitting and staging point for westward emigrant trail migrations throughout the first half of the 1800s. In this role, it supported the settlement of the Ohio Country and the lands of in that latitude of the Louisiana Purchase. It also became an industrial center, served by major roads, a canal connecting to Washington, DC, and railroads.

Industry declined after World War II, and later urban, business and technological development in the state has been concentrated in eastern coastal cities. Today the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area is one of the poorest in the United States, ranking 305th out of 318 metropolitan areas in per capita income.[4]

History[edit]

Cumberland 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 stronghold of Fort Duquesne (located on the site of present-day Pittsburgh) during the French and Indian War, the North American front of the Seven Years' War between the French and the British. (See Braddock expedition.) This area was previously settled for thousands of years by indigenous peoples, and the fort was developed along the Great Indian Warpath.

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

map of Braddock's Military Road

During the 19th century, Cumberland was a key road, railroad and canal junction and at one time was the second-largest city in Maryland after the port city of Baltimore. It was nicknamed "The Queen City").[5] Cumberland was the terminus, and namesake, of the Cumberland Road (begun in 1811) that extended westward to the Ohio River at Wheeling, West Virginia. This was the first portion of what would be constructed as the National Road, which eventually reached Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.[5]

The surrounding hillsides were mined for coal and iron ore, and harvested for timber that helped supply the Industrial Revolution. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal had its western terminus here and was built to improve the movement of goods between the Midwest and Washington, DC, the eastern terminus. Construction of railroads superseded use of the canal, as trains were faster and could carry more freight. In addition, the city developed as a major manufacturing center, with industries in glass, breweries, fabrics and tinplate.

With the restructuring of heavy industry in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states following World War II, the city lost many jobs. As a result, its population has declined by early half, from 39,483 in the 1940 census to fewer than 22,000 today.[6][7]

Geography[edit]

Cumberland is located in the Ridge and Valley physiographic province of the Appalachian Mountains at 39°38′52″N 78°45′46″W / 39.647687°N 78.762869°W / 39.647687; -78.762869 (39.647687, −78.762869),[8] at the junction of the North Branch of the Potomac River and Wills Creek. The majority of the land within the city lies in a valley created by the junction of these two streams. Interstate 68 runs through the city in an east/west direction, as does Alternate U.S. 40, the Old National Road. U.S. Highway 220 runs north/south. Parts of Wills Mountain, Haystack Mountain, and Shriver Ridge are also within the city limits.

Terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Cumberland. Highway bridge is Interstate 68. Canal place museum is the brick building behind bridge.

The abandoned Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is now part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.[5] The canal's towpath is maintained, allowing travel by foot, horse or bicycle between Cumberland and Washington, D.C., a distance of about 185 miles (298 km). In recent years a separate trail/path extension, called the Great Allegheny Passage, has been developed that leads to Pittsburgh as its western terminus. Cumberland is the only city of at least 20,000 residents, outside of the Pittsburgh and DC metro areas, that lies on this combined 300+ mile stretch.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.15 square miles (26.29 km2), of which, 10.08 square miles (26.11 km2) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2) is water.[1]

Cumberland Narrows[edit]

Main article: Cumberland Narrows
The Cumberland Narrows west of Cumberland, Maryland, along Wills Creek, with Haystack Mountain on the left and Wills Mountain on the right. The easy crossing of the rugged Wills Mountain Anticline through this water gap is used by the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (left), the Old National Road (Alternate U.S. 40) (center, left of the creek), and the CSX Railroad (right).

Cumberland is located at the eastern entrance to the Cumberland Narrows (or "The Narrows"), a water gap along Wills Creek that crosses the central ridge of the Wills Mountain Anticline at a low elevation between Wills Mountain to the north and Haystack Mountain to the south. Cliffs and talus of the two mountains' Tuscarora quartzite caprock are prominent within the Narrows. These geological features provide Cumberland a western backdrop of the two mountains and the narrow gap between them.

The Cumberland Narrows acts as a western gateway from Cumberland to the Appalachian Plateau and the Ohio River Valley beyond. The Old National Road, now Alternate U.S. 40, passes through the Narrows. In addition, the former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's main line between Baltimore/Washington and Pittsburgh, now part of the CSX system, and a former line of the Western Maryland Railroad, now used by the steam- and diesel-powered excursion trains of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, also use this route.

A prominent rocky outcropping at the south end of Wills Mountain in the Cumberland Narrows is known as Lover's Leap.

Politics[edit]

Cumberland voting rolls in all 13 precincts lean to the Democratic Party. As bluedog Democrats, the voters who vote Democrat are Conservative in general but moderate on social issues. The county voters are majority Republican Party.

Climate[edit]

Cumberland lies at the beginning of the transition from a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa) to a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), although bearing far more characteristics of the former, with a range of temperatures significantly lower than those in the central and eastern part of Maryland, mostly in the form of depressed nighttime lows. Cumberland is the only major city in Maryland to actually fall within the humid continental (Dfa) climate, whereas even Hagerstown lies in the middle of the transition zone. The region has four distinct seasons, with hot, humid summers, and moderate winters (compared to surrounding communities, Cumberland receives milder winters and less snow). Monthly daily mean temperatures range from 31.9 °F (−0.1 °C) in January to 76.8 °F (24.9 °C) in July, with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) on 34.5 days of the year and dipping to 10 °F (−12 °C) or below on 7 nights per winter. Average seasonal snowfall totals 30.3 inches (77 cm). The record high is 109 °F (43 °C) set in July 1936 and August 1918, both of which are state record highs, while the record low is −17 °F (−27 °C) set in February 1899.[citation needed]


Climate data for Cumberland, Maryland, 1981−2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 41.4
(5.2)
45.6
(7.6)
55.8
(13.2)
68.0
(20)
76.5
(24.7)
84.7
(29.3)
88.7
(31.5)
87.5
(30.8)
80.0
(26.7)
69.0
(20.6)
56.6
(13.7)
44.7
(7.1)
66.6
(19.2)
Average low °F (°C) 22.4
(−5.3)
23.9
(−4.5)
31.6
(−0.2)
41.1
(5.1)
51.1
(10.6)
60.4
(15.8)
64.8
(18.2)
63.3
(17.4)
54.8
(12.7)
43.0
(6.1)
34.2
(1.2)
26.5
(−3.1)
43.2
(6.2)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.66
(67.6)
2.37
(60.2)
3.37
(85.6)
3.30
(83.8)
4.02
(102.1)
3.28
(83.3)
3.56
(90.4)
3.17
(80.5)
3.23
(82)
2.57
(65.3)
2.98
(75.7)
2.85
(72.4)
37.36
(948.9)
Snowfall inches (cm) 10.2
(25.9)
8.3
(21.1)
5.3
(13.5)
.2
(0.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
.9
(2.3)
5.4
(13.7)
30.3
(77)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 11.6 9.9 11.2 11.6 13.3 11.1 10.6 9.5 9.2 8.6 9.6 10.6 126.8
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.7 3.1 2.0 .1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .4 1.9 11.2
Source: NOAA[9][10]

Demographics[edit]

A graph showing the population in Cumberland and Allegany County

The median household income $25,142, and the median family income 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.[4]

In 2007, Forbes ranked the Cumberland Metro as having the 6th-lowest cost of living in the USA, based on an index of cost of housing, utilities, transportation and other expenditures[11]

In 2007, The Baltimore Sun newspaper, citing the National Association of Realtors figures on home prices, stated that while most areas were stagnant, Cumberland home prices were rising by more than 17%, the highest in the country.[12]

In July 2007, Washington Post writer Stephanie Cavanaugh wrote that the great quality of living in Cumberland had attracted many urbanites to the area.[13]

Population trends

Population decline from 1950–1990 was due to a string of industrial plant closures. Unable or unwilling to meet union demands, plants such as Pittsburgh Plate Glass, Allegany Munitions and Celanese closed down and relocated. The 1987 closure of the Kelly Springfield Tire Plant marked a turning point, as it was the last major manufacturing plant in the city limits to close its doors.

The population of the city has continued to decline since 1990, with the 2010 census population of 20,859 the lowest since the 1900 census.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 20,859 people, 9,223 households, and 4,982 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,069.3 inhabitants per square mile (799.0 /km2). There were 10,914 housing units at an average density of 1,082.7 per square mile (418.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.4% White, 6.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.

There were 9,223 households of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.0% were married couples living together, 15.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.0% were non-families. 38.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.89.

The median age in the city was 41.4 years. 20.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.1% were from 25 to 44; 26.2% were from 45 to 64; and 19.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.0% male and 53.0% female.

Notable landmarks[edit]

Allegany County Courthouse
Wills Creek
Downtown Cumberland

Some of Cumberland's most architecturally significant homes are located in the Washington Street Historic District. 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.[14]

The 1850 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. Temple B'er Chayim's 1865 Gothic Revival building is one of the oldest surviving synagogue buildings in the United States.

Also of note is the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Terminus at Canal Place, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, the Allegheny Highlands Trail of Maryland, the Allegany Arts Council, Rocky Gap State Park, Cumberland Narrows along Wills Creek, on Alternate U.S. 40, the New Embassy Theater and Queen City Creamery, stated by the Travel Channel to have "Maryland's best frozen custard."

Education[edit]

The offices of Allegany County Public Schools are located in Cumberland. The city is served by Allegany High School and Fort Hill High School, the private Bishop Walsh School and Calvary Christian Academy, and elementary schools such as Cresaptown Elementary School, Northeast Elementary School and Cash Valley Elementary School. Approximately 39,000 people hold library cards in Allegany County, with libraries such as Washington Street Library and Lavale Public Library and several others.

Utilities[edit]

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 is supplied by the Potomac Edison Company, which is a unit of FirstEnergy, while natural gas service is supplied by Columbia Gas of Maryland. There was once a working oil well that pumped crude oil from a location near the Fruit Bowl in the Cumberland Narrows. Hospitals include Western Maryland Regional Medical Center and Thomas B. Finan Center.

Transportation[edit]

The primary public transportation in the City of Cumberland is bus service provided by Allegany County Transit. This service consists of five scheduled routes that reach most areas of the City and provide access to most public facilities. Major highway arteries serving the Cumberland area include Interstate 68, U.S. Route 40 and U.S. Route 220.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides intercity service to Cumberland via the Capitol Limited, which runs between Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Illinois. The Cumberland Amtrak Station is located downtown at Queen City Drive and East Harrison Street. The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad operates steam and diesel excursion trains from Cumberland to Frostburg and back. The Greater Cumberland Regional Airport (Airport-ID: CBE) provides local air transportation to the Cumberland area, located in West Virginia, to the south of the Potomac River. In addition, Mexico Farms Airport (Airport-ID: 1W3) is also located in Cumberland.

Media[edit]

The Cumberland Times-News is the area's daily newspaper. Cumberland has several media outlets; most carry some form of satellite programming. WCBC-AM and 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.

Cable customers of Cumberland mainly receive service from Atlantic Broadband. Cumberland's Atlantic Broadband customers receive two NBC affiliates, WJAC-TV from Johnstown, PA and WHAG-TV from Hagerstown, MD. ABB customers also receive three CBS affiliates: WTAJ-TV from Altoona, PA, WJZ-TV from Baltimore, MD, and WUSA (TV) from Washington, DC. ABB customers can also receive two Fox affiliates, WTTG-TV from Washington, DC and WWCP-TV from Altoona, PA, as well as one ABC affiliate, WJLA-TV from Rosslyn, VA.

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The webcomic The Adventures of Dr. McNinja by Christopher Hastings is set in part in a fictionalized version of Cumberland.[15]

Sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  4. ^ a b Dataplace: Cumberland, MD-WV MAS
  5. ^ a b c "Bird's Eye View of Cumberland, Maryland 1906". World Digital Library. 1906. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  6. ^ "Cumberland History". National Park Service. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Parts of this article are copied from the Cumberland History, a National Park Service website whose contents are in the public domain.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ "Station Name: MD CUMBERLAND 2". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  10. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  11. ^ Special Report: Best Places For Business And Careers, Forbes, April 2007.
  12. ^ The Baltimore Sun, 29 June 2007
  13. ^ Washington Post, Real Estate section, 14 July 2007
  14. ^ All Aboard For Cumberland: Washington Street
  15. ^ "Dr. McNinja". Cumberland Times-News. June 30, 2008. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  16. ^ "Cumberland Establishes Sister City In Estonia". Cumberland Times-News. June 20, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
Bibliography
  • 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 20th century. Accompanying each depiction is a 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[edit]