George Washington feared insurgents would “shake the government to its foundation.”

On this day, August 26 1794, Washington wrote to Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee that he had decided to use force to put down the ‘Whiskey Rebellion’.
Washington knew that the nation, having only recently violently overthrown the tyrannical English king, was in a delicate state, and he did not want to appear as an equally despotic president. He waited to see if the insurgents would back down, but 6,000 angry men gathered near Pittsburgh and challenged Washington and the federal government to disperse them.
Mounted on his horse, Washington lead a force of 13,000 to quell the uprising. (In fact, the aging president made most of the journey by carriage.)
He addressed the troops at Fort Cumberland as they prepared for action. This was the first and only time a sitting American president has ever led troops into battle.
June 9, 2017, the Whiskey Rebellion Fest at the Allegany Museum, Cumberland, will celebrate Washington, the rebellion, and whiskey.


3,300,000 children miss school because of work!

While children had been employed alongside adults for hundreds of years, in cash-strapped 1932 children were replacing their parents in jobs because employers could pay them less for the same work.
The picture below shows Edwin Cope,13 years of age, in a N.J. Glass Works at midnight.
Also below, an article from the Cumberland Evening Times, 4/12/32.
If you have photos of children or adults working in any of Cumberland’s glass works, or any other factory or mill, and you wouldn’t mind loaning them, please contact Allegany Museum through this page.
Allegany Museum is preparing an exhibition of working conditions in Allegany County and how they have changed, that will be opened on February 4 next year as past of the Smithsonian The Way We Worked.child labor Cumberland_Evening_Times_Tue__Apr_12__1932_

glass-blower boy W Va

War of words in the Cumberland Evening News

The labor unrest in the 1940s against the Celanese Corp must have made the Cumberland Evening Tines happy – both sides took out a series of full page advertisements promulgating their views.
For an in-depth look at working conditions and labor organizations in Allegany County, come to the free The Way We Worked exhibition at Allegany Museum, February 3 to March 24 2017.

Cumberland good to Celanese Cumberland_Sunday_Times_Sun__Jun_8__1947_celanese corp notice to workers Cumberland_Evening_Times_Mon__Oct_25__1948_

Historic Holiday Homes Tour

Mark your calendars for a special holiday home tour. This coming December, Cumberland’s Annual Holiday Home Tour is going to be a special one! For $25 per person benefiting the Western Maryland Heritage Association (whose members include the Allegany Museum, the Allegany County Historical Society and the Gilchrist Gallery and Museum) 300 lucky ticket buyers will be able to tour some of the finest early 20th century homes in the Dingle!

At dusk, there we will a horseback caroling tour for the enjoyment of residents and ticket holders alike. The DIngle was Western Maryland’s first gated community who design included planned landscape architecture, in a decidedly English style. With access to Washington Street temporarily disrupted by bridge issues, 2016 is the perfect year to tour the Dingle for the holidays!

This year’s date is December 10th!

(Thanks Dave Williams for this post and photos)

Dave Williams's photo.


Smithsonian funded by Englishman: Cash transported by ship!

On this day, August 10 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was born.
James Smithson, an Englishman, left the whole of his estate to found an “Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge” in Washington.
Smithson was a a fellow of the venerable Royal Society of London, and published numerous scientific papers on mineral composition, geology, and chemistry.
He had never visited the US.
The money had to be transferred in cash.
Diplomat Richard Rush went to England, and two years later sailed for home with 11 boxes containing a total of 104,960 gold sovereigns, 8 shillings, and 7 pence, as well as Smithson’s mineral collection, library, scientific notes, and personal effects. After the gold was melted down, it amounted to a fortune worth well over $500,000.
Next February, Allegany Museum is partnering with the Smithsonian to bring The Way We Worked exhibition to Allegany County. As well as the central exhibits, the Museum will display the story of FDR’s New Deal programs in the County, and trace how local labor organizations facilitated changes that have enhanced worker health and safety.NSBMuseum-TheWayWeWorked_750x500


“SheSheShe” camps

Next Feb-March you will be able to view memorabilia of the Allegany County CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camps of the New Deal Era.
Most of these were only for men, but on Eleanor Roosevelt’s urging, camps for women were also created.
By 1936 there were 90 residential “SheSheShe” camps, formally known as FERA Camps (Federal Emergency Relief Association). In the end, some 8,500 women benefited from the program.

she she she fatique Happy Days 8-12-33

she she she

“FDR’s tree army”: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Allegany County

Allegany Museum will feature New Deal programs in Allegany County next February and March during The Way We Worked exhibition.
One program was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
“FDR’s tree army” did public improvements and conservation work across the country until 1942.
There were several CCC camps near Cumberland.
Company 335-C (colored) was stationed at Camp Green Ridge near Flintstone. This camp featured a reading room, baseball team, basketball team, dispensary, education building, vocational shop, retreat, canteen, and camp quartet. Educational activities, much of which was undertaken in nearby Cumberland, included classes in woodworking, photography, motion picture projection, soldering, and more.
On June 8, 1936, almost 200 men enrolled in CCC Camp Company 1359, S-58-Md., Paw Paw, West Virginia, located in Green Ridge State Forest. Over 90% of the enrollees participated in the educational activities. Nearby Paw Paw High School permitted enrollees to use the gymnasium and the local ball park provided free use of its facilities. Cumberland’s WTBO Radio Station even provided a regular program each Saturday on the public work improvements undertaken by the camp.


Killed in the lower yards

In the first few years of the 20th century, approximately 35,000 deaths and 1 million injuries per year occurred on industrial jobs in America.

Many of the deaths occurred on railroad jobs, which were especially dangerous.

The newspaper cutting below describes the horrific injuries that caused the death of switchman James G. Blaine of Cumberland as he shifted cars. Switchmen worked in the railroad yards, hooking cars together, sometimes while the cars were moving.

No federal regulation of safety nor enforcement of state or local safety regulations existed, and courts were not sympathetic to worker claims.

You will be able to see the story of how labor organizations fought for the right of workers to safe working conditions in our display of artifacts, photos and cuttings during the Smithsonian Way We Worked exhibition, February 3 to March 24 2017 – free!

Killed in the lower yards