I'm spending a few days north of my usual mountain home, taking a much-needed break from the daily grind. I'm so far "out there" I don't have data service on my phone! I'm in beautiful and historic Cumberland Maryland, about 3.5 hours north-northwest of Crozet Virginia. Cumberland lies in the Appalachian/Allegheny mountains and is both beautiful and charming. There is still that "small town" feel to it and in the neighboring town of Frostburg. I have taken so many pictures to share with you but as of right now I don't have a connection on my phone to upload them. I do promise to write a part two to this blog post as soon as I'm back home and online again. (I'm on a friend's laptop with an ethernet connection and I don't want to go rearranging his internet protocols) Anyway, I found a great page online from the National Park Service that talks about the history of this area and there are some very cool photographs there too.
|Photo by Carter and Roque|
You can link to the page HERE and I'm posting excerpts below.
The following is from the NPS.gov page about the history of Cumberland Maryland. No copyright infringement intended. Used for informational, educational, and historic purposes only.
HISTORY OF CUMBERLAND MARYLAND
|Baltimore St., early 1900s|
Photograph courtesy of City of Cumberland
When European settlers first began moving into western Maryland in the 1730s and 1740s, they encountered Native Americans residing between the Potomac and Susquehanna rivers. Conflicts ensued, and in 1744 the Maryland legislature purchased the land from the area's Native American's, observing they would settle "for nothing less than Blood or Money." This contract opened the area to official settlement. Germans, Swiss-Germans, and Scot-Irish from Pennsylvania quickly colonized the area. Although the Maryland legislature had "purchased" the area, Virginia and Pennsylvania claimed the land as well. More troubling to the British Empire were French traders intent on securing their rights to the land.
In 1750 Virginia planters and English merchants established a trading house and small storehouse on land which is now the heart of Cumberland. The new trading post (later called Fort Cumberland) attracted the French, who moved south and west from their Lake Ontario forts, drove out the English traders and claimed the Ohio River Valley for France. In 1753, with tensions running high between the French and English, the Governor of Virginia sent a small company led by a young Virginian named George Washington to inform the French to leave English territory and return north. The French ignored Washington's warnings, and he returned to Virginia. In the spring of 1754, Colonel Washington returned to Fort Cumberland, this time with more men. Pushing north from Cumberland towards the forks of the Ohio River where Pittsburgh is now located, Washington's force (about 230 men) encountered 600 French and 100 Indians soldiers. An inexperienced 22 year-old, Washington did not withdraw, but instructed his men to build a fort, which he grimly named "Fort Necessity." On July 3, 1754, the French and Indian War officially began when both groups attacked the fort. Washington, completely surrounded and one third of his men killed, surrendered. Washington and his remaining troops were allowed to retreat (without their weapons) and returned to Fort Cumberland. With the loss of the Ohio River Valley, Fort Cumberland became the primary staging and supply point for the British on the colonial frontier.
|This is where I went today! Cool beans!|
Cabin that served as George Washington's headquarters
Photograph by Kathleen McKenney, courtesy of City of Cumberland
The fort, and later the city, derived its name from the Duke of Cumberland, son of King George II of Great Britain. After British General Edward Braddock led another disastrous foray into the Ohio River Valley, George Washington served as commander of the Virginia troops during the French and Indian War, and spent a considerable amount of time in the Cumberland area. The cabin that served as his headquarters is the only building to survive from the Fort, and has been moved to Riverside Park. Washington's service in the area was important, because he became convinced that expansion west into the interior of North America and the Ohio River Valley came through Cumberland's valley. Washington later started a company (which failed) to make the Potomac River navigable between the Atlantic Ocean and Cumberland.
GROWTH OF THE CITY
In the years between the end of the French and Indian War and the beginning of the American Revolution, Cumberland grew as a town, was designated the seat of the newly created Allegany County, and was poised to become a major artery on the edge of the American frontier. Following the American Revolution, land hungry settlers began to push purposefully past the land west of the Appalachian Mountains. Cumberland grew slowly, until the much anticipated Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and Baltimore and Ohio Railroad arrived in the mid-19th century. These improved transportation routes, along with the increase development and trade opportunities they fostered, transformed this small town into the largest city in Western Maryland.
C&O Canal boats awaiting another load of coal, circa 1890
Photograph courtesy of City of Cumberland, from the collections of the Allegany County Historical Society
Cumberland as represented in a 1906 map by Thaddeus M Fowler
Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, G3844.C9A3 1906 .F6
Cumberland Brewing Co. during the 1900s
Photograph courtesy of City of Cumberland
As coal production diminished in the first quarter of the 20th century, the auto-industry moved into Cumberland and promised new jobs for former miners. Kelly-Springfield Tire Company came to Cumberland to manufacture tires in 1921. At its peak the company employed well over 2,000 people. Of the area industries still operating today, two date back to before the turn-of-the-century. Westvaco, now Allegany County's largest employer, was founded in 1888. The Luke Mill, which employs about 1,950 Tri-State area residents, is continuing its $250 million improvement program. A new wood yard and administration building are the latest additions. Cumberland Steel Company, now operated by George Wyckoff, was established in 1892 by the McKaig family, whose Greek Revival mansion still stands on Washington Street."
Travelling to Cumberland? Check out this Trip Advisor page with links to other local attractions and hotels.
Able to view PDF files on your device? Click HERE for a great booklet (with pics!) about Cumberland, George Washington's First Headquarters, General Pershing and much more!