Allegany Museum has a comprehensive firefighting collection, including artifacts, equipment, photographs, and a narrative of the story of fire fighting in Cumberland.
In 1872, Cumberland installed its first municipal water system, including fire plugs and water mains. At first, water was pumped from the Potomac River, then in 1910 Evitt’s Creek, in the nearby mountains of Pennsylvania was dammed, and the water piped to the city. This system remains to this day.
The Allegany Museum display illustrates the development of modern firefighting techniques in the city. In 1908, Cumberland’s volunteer fire-fighting system was replaced by a paid fire department. Several pieces of the latest horse-drawn equipment were purchased. When it became available, Cumberland quickly adopted motorized equipment.
In the early 20th century, Cumberland had over 30 different glass factories, and these were the locations of many large fires. Many burned to the ground. You can see a comprehensive exhibit of Cumberland Glass at the Allegany Museum, on the same floor as the firefighting exhibit.
Allegany Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10-4, and Sundays 1-4. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted!