MHT File Photo
Historic Postcard, 1923
Cumberland City Hall
Cumberland, Allegany County
The Cumberland City Hall is a 7-bay by 7-bay, 2-story, stone-faced, neo-classical structure. A simple straightforward block underneath, City Hall has a thin "veneer" of neo-classical embellishments, and is classically composed, being made up of a stylobate (base), shaft (the two main floors), and capital (cornice and roof-top balustrade). The entrance in the central bay of each facade is flanked by pairs of giant fluted pilasters, and the entablature above projects slightly to become part of the overall entrance-pavilion treatment. Except for this entranceway the major wall area is plain, broken only by the skillful emphasis of an irregular corner, into which the architect has recessed a curving bay within pilasters formed by the exposed ends of the front and side walls. The upper window in this curving bay has been filled with glass block. A mural by artist Gertrude du Brau on the interior of the rotunda dome depicts the early history of the city.
The Cumberland City Hall, built between 1911 and 1912, replaced an earlier structure erected 1873-1874 which burned in 1910. The firm of Holmboe and Lafferty designed the extant City Hall including its rounded corner. The superintendent of construction was famous architect Wright Butler, and Henry L. Brown of Philadelphia was the contractor. According to local residents, the City Hall is the only example of this sort of municipal architecture in Allegany County. Du Brau's mural on the interior of the rotunda dome depicts the early history of the city including representations of General Edward Braddock and of George Washington. The site has served civic functions since the 1840s at which time the city market was located there.