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Where we’ve been, where we’re going
In 1787, the Maryland General Assembly made the wise move of establishing the town of Cumberland through an act passed during that legislative session. Of course, that act simply provided the stamp of officialdom to a community that had been in existence, in one form or another, for thousands of years.
Artifacts pointing to civilizations in existence before the time of Christ have been found in the area, so we can only assume that people have been living here forever, a fact that those of us who now live at the confluence of Wills Creek and the Potomac River can understand, given the level of natural beauty that surrounds us.
For generations an American Indian village, then a western outpost of roughshod cabins established by European Americans, Cumberland eventually became a stop for many in the push west. In this role, the city grew into a transportation hub, first as the starting point of the first National Road - now known as Route 40, or National Highway - and then as home to numerous railroads and the western terminus of the famous C&O Canal.
As the city raced through the 19th century and into the 20th, it became less dependent on railroads as more industry moved to the area. Glass manufacturing and brewing were big, as were tires and steel.
Cumberland experienced the same fate as many American cities in the latter quarter of the 20th century; many industries closed their doors, battering the local populace. But the natives here are resilient if nothing else, so Cumberland looked around and noticed that a lot of people traditionally traveled here for our rich history. Small firms began to crop up focusing on the tourism trade, and Cumberland was off and running into its next era.
The economy continued to perk up as a number of technological firms moved to the area. The future looks brighter now than it has in years, essentially because we have something here most people want - a quality of life hard to come by today.
So come along, and we'll show you our town, a beautiful little city nestled among the Appalachian Mountains, home to those who seek tranquillity, peace, and friendly neighbors.
City Vital Signs
People Who Wouldn't Live Anywhere Else: 21,518
Miles to the Maddening Crowd:
130 miles to Baltimore
130 miles to Washington, DC
100 miles to Pittsburgh, Pa.
We Love the Mountains:
an average 945 feet above sea level, give or take several hundred feet, depending upon where you stand
Why We're Green and Gorgeous:
average annual rainfall of 36.5 inches
Lots of Snow Bunnies Here:
average annual snowfall of 34.1 inches
We're Cool in August:
average summer temperature 72.6 degrees Fahrenheit
average winter temperature 32.8 degrees Fahrenheit
George Washington’s Headquarters - he slept here, really;
History House - Huge Victorian home furnished as it was when its original owners resided there 100 years ago;
Walking tour of Washington Street - impressive walk along site of original Fort Cumberland, past the architectural wonder that is our courthouse (like gnomes and gargoyles? check it out), our Greco-Roman library, two beautiful churches and a tree lined street of enormous 19th century homes;
The Western Maryland Station Center - Original train station now housing our scenic railroad and an art gallery;
The C&O Canal - Hike or bike all the way to Washington, DC, if you like;
The Cumberland Theatre - Live theatre in a small town employing professional actors on their way up. Mandy Patinkin had to start somewhere;
Antique and specialty shops - Check out our downtown! Victorian buildings along bricked streets filled with antique, gourmet and other specialty shops;
Too many outdoor activities to list - with a number of state parks just minutes away we just can't mention them all, but think hiking, biking, river rafting, camping, skiing - you get the picture.
Miss This and You'll Hate Yourself: Our steam train! The ride up the mountain to Frostburg, approximately 10 miles away aboard theWestern Maryland Scenic Railroad is not to be missed. Real, live steam engine, antique rail cars take you up and back. It's a treat.
Best Kept Secret: In Cumberland, life is sweet (but don't tell anyone; we want to keep it to ourselves)
Items of Interest for Those Wishing to Move their Large ( or small) Companies to a city with an innovative, self sufficient workforce:
Utilities: City supplies water and sewer services, electricity by Allegheny Power, natural gas by Columbia Gas of Maryland.
Other City Services of Note: Full time police and fire departments
Create the Workforce You Want: How to accomplish this mammoth task? Try Allegany College. A few years back, this local community college took up the gauntlet in training the local workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. Through its Center for Continuing Education, Allegany College works with local employers in molding employees for an individual employer's
The initial consultation is free and provides a basic assessment of your training needs. From there, the school will design and implement your training programs, which will make your life a lot easier. Topics covered range from core business topics (accounting, marketing, etc.) to areas such as sexual harassment awareness, management development, customer service and sales and licensure and certification.
In addition, the school is involved in the state Interactive Distance Learning Network, which allows Allegany College students to participate in course work in classrooms all over the state. Need some hard-to-find training? If Allegany College doesn't have it on-site, they can probably find a program for you through the Interactive Distance Learning Network. Also allows users to network with others in their industry, and with professional and industrial associations without leaving town. Cool.
And Don't Forget FSU: Not only does Cumberland have Allegany College, the city also has access to Frostburg State University just 10 miles away. Two computer labs on campus provide training opportunities for area businesses, the school's Center for Regional Progress offers technical and research assistance, its Western Maryland Regional Geographic Information Systems Center provides infrastructure delineation and environmental assessment graphics, and conference facilities are available with long-distance interactive meeting sites.
And While We're on the Subject of Schools:
Number of elementary schools: four public, two private
Number of middle schools: two public, two private
Number of high schools: two public, two private
Our schools - public and private - are safe, happy places where kids can concentrate on their main reason for being there: learning. School personnel work closely with the city's police force in ensuring that our schools are safe, calm places where those who want to learn can learn. A number of students safely walk to school each day.
Our schools host 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 are well equipped with computers, both IBM and Maclntosh.
To Your Health
Hospitals: The New Western Maryland Regional Medical Center located on Willowbrook Road offers a comprehensive range of general and specialty services for mdeical, surgical, pediatric, and obstetrical patients.
The health care system here consists of a sizable network of physicians - over 200 - who practice over 30 medical specialties. We also have the Allegany County Health Department, which offers services for patients of all ages, the Thomas B. Finan Center provides mental health care, the Brandenburg Center offers care for developmentally disabled adults, and we have day care facilities for people afflicted with mental illness and mental retardation through the Archway agency and the Friends Aware agency, respectively.
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