Make your mark on local history: the Allegany Museum Photo Story project

Which Allegany Museum displays inspire you? Enliven memories? Next time you visit, take a photo and send it with your story to, with ‘photostory’ as the header

What is a ‘story’? It can be as simple as a caption with a few words about what caught your eye. Or you can take it further and share memories, stories, and legends that relate to your photo.

The best photos and stories will be posted on our Facebook page and displayed in the Museum. Contributors will receive invitations to a special Museum event.

(Allegany Museum reserves the right to edit and/or reuse photos and stories submitted)caution

Community effort to erect a bronze statue of Hall of Fame Major League Baseball pitcher “Lefty” Grove

Allegany Museum is assisting in the effort to erect a bronze statue of Hall of Fame Major League Baseball pitcher “Lefty” Grove in his hometown. Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove was born in Lonaconing, Allegany County, in 1900.

Lefty was a six-time All Star and played on two World Series championship teams and in  1931, he was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1947.

Lefty’s Most Valuable Player trophy is permanently housed at the library in Lonaconing, and Allegany Museum is proud to exhibit his glove and a signed ball during the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibition, from May 30 to July 18 2015.

Donations to the Lefty Grove Statue fund may be sent to Community Trust Foundation, Lefty Grove Fund, 71 Baltimore St.,  Cumberland.


Hometown Teams List of Exhibits & Locations

Hometown Teams List of Exhibits & Locations

Allegany Museum, 9 Pershing St Cumberland.

Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit along with the 1930s’ Cumberland baseball stadium where Babe Ruth and Lefty Grove played, the story of our Special Olympian gold-medalist, and highlights of the career of longtime sports reporter Jiggs Burns.

Allegany College of Maryland, Willowbrook Rd, Cumberland.

Sports memorabilia, photos, and video of sports in College history

Allegany County Library, 76 Main St, Lonaconing.

Focus on the career of famous pitcher Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove, born in Lonaconing. Book readings and talks by local athletes

William Gilchrist Museum of the Arts, 104 Washington St, Cumberland.

Exhibition of marbles and sports-themed paintings and sculptures; demonstration competition by local marble champions on game mats by artist Greg Malloy; display of history of Marble King factory.

Frostburg Museum, 69 Hill St, Frostburg.

Photographs, memorabilia and video documentary of Beall High School sports

Frostburg State University, 101 Braddock Road, Frostburg.

An exhibition about players who are part of the college’s Hall of Fame.

Gordon Roberts House, 218 Washington St, Cumberland

Exhibition of cheerleader, drill team, and music marching band uniforms and other artifacts

Mountain City Traditional Arts, 25 E. Main Street, Frostburg.

Exhibition featuring roller derby, track and field, and cross country; scrapbooking and quilting workshops using sports jerseys and uniforms

May 30 through July 18 2015

Hometown Teams is a part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and The Maryland Humanities Council. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

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Hometown Teams “Coach of the Community Contest”


They encourage us. They guide us. They support us. They challenge us. Coaches do much more than develop athletic skills in their players; they are an integral part of the sports loving experience and there is no game without them!

Pay tribute to your coach by nominating them for a “Coach of the Community” award by completing the statement “My coach is my hometown hero because…” Entries due on by June 6, 2015.

This contest is a part of the “Hometown Teams,” a Smithsonian Institution exhibition brought to you by the Maryland Humanities Council and Allegany Museum.  Don’t forget, the deadline for nominating your favorite coach is June 6, 2015!

The “Coach of the Community” will receive an award and twenty-five t-shirts from contest sponsor, Nightmare Graphics. (Nominators will receive a mystery prize.) One lucky winner will receive the grand prize of a two-night stay and two tickets to the December 2015 Army vs. Navy football game in Philadelphia. Winning Entries will also be shared on Maryland Stories and via social media.

The local winner will be announced on June 14 during Heritage Days

Museum to host Smithsonian’s “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America” Exhibition

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The Allegany Museum has been chosen by the Maryland State Humanities Council to be one of five venues in the state to host a traveling exhibition celebrating sports in American communities. “We are excited about hosting Hometown Teams,” said Victor Rezendes, an Allegany Museum board member. “From producing famous baseball players and championship marble players to our fierce high school sports rivalries, Western Maryland has many unique sports stories that we will use to expand the exhibit that we receive from the Smithsonian.”

The exhibition will open at the Allegany Museum on Saturday May 30, 2015 and run for six weeks. The core of Hometown Teams is produced the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The Allegany Museum and members of the Heritage Association, including the Gilchest Museum, Allegany Public Library System, will produce companion exhibits and programming highlighting sports.

Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. Museum on Main Street has set up at website ( and free mobile app (available from the Mac App Store or the Google Play Store) where the public can share their sports stories. Stories are recorded and mapped to the location of the contributor and the website and apps accept written and audio stories as well as videos and photos. Museum on Main Street will select some submitted stories to be featured on the website and app.

“Operation of automobiles on Martin’s Mountain”: Letter March 14, 1925

003aBy chance, I happened across this letter on its anniversary. Serendipity in the collections office once again.

When this letter was written to the State Roads Commission, the National Highway had already been serving as the major route between the Mid-Atlantic, through Cumberland and into the Ohio Valley for nearly 100 years. The Mr. John N. Mackall mentioned in the letter had served as the Chief Engineer of the Commission since 1918, and had come to Maryland State employment by way of Pennsylvania State Highway Department. Upon his promotion, Mr. Mackall was confronted with legal challenges introduced to road construction because of the onset of the First World War. One such restriction was the use of open top cars for transportation of materials other than what was deemed essential for war work. Once those open top cars were available for use again, the cost of transportation and labor had gone up considerably. Mackall agreed to pay higher prices to contractors that had been in waiting for years, thereby avoiding a possible catastrophe that would have been created by contractors going bankrupt and subsequently not being available to bid on state contracts.

Mr. Mackall was also the Chair of the Commission when it took upon as its responsibility the safety of drivers on the State’s highways. Painting road obstructions white for visibility and rerouting dangerous curves were on Mackall’s agenda for safety improvement. After 1920, Mr. Mackall was known to refuse requests from County Commissioners for road improvements if the contracts they submitted were exorbitant, which would always return at a lower cost in following years. His methods have laid the groundwork for Maryland having some of the best highways in the country at a lower average cost.

The author of the letter, Mr. L.T. Downey, was the District Engineer for Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. (This is District 6 of Western Maryland today, part of the State Highway Administration From 1921, he was responsible for seeing vast improvements in concrete highway construction from Frederick, MD west to Garrett County. One of his great accomplishments was to add concrete shoulders to the roads to increase width from 14′ to 20′.







The letter reads:

“March 14, 1925


Mr. Mackall is desirous of obtaining some results in actual operation of automobiles on Martin’s Mountain. The idea is to find out the difference in the braking power in coming down the mountain in second gear with the ignition on and with the ignition off.

He has asked me to try and get some people around Cumberland to try this out, and I wish you would, in going over the road, try coming down the mountain on either side with the ignition on, in one case; and in the next case, with the ignition cut off, and estimate the difference as to the effects on your car.

I would be greatly obliged to you if you would advise me  as to the results of this as soon as possible.

Very truly yours,

L.T. Downey, District Engineer.”


Concrete Highway & Public Improvements Magazine, Vol. 6, 1922. pp. 174-177

Bittner, J.H.F “Development of the State Roads Commission of Maryland,” Thesis submitted for Phi Mu Honorary Engineering Fraternity, University of Maryland, Jan. 17, 1927.


Annual Ford Model T and Model A Car and Truck Show

Model A

Cumberland’s Ford Model T and Model A Car Show began in 2000 with 18 automobiles on display. 2012 saw the biggest show with 51 automobiles dating from 1906 to 1931. Roadsters, paneled cars, depot hacks, Model TT and Model AA dump trucks, and even tractors have been dispayed.

In September 2014, the Allegany Museum partnered with the Queen City Region Antique Car Club and the AACA  to host the 2014 Show.

Visitors spotted at the local Model T and Model A Car Shows include Governor Martin O’Malley, and William H. Macy who came to the Show to buy back his father’s Model A 2-door Coupe, restored by Neil Furlow.

An ongoing exhibit in the Downtown Area is the Model T and Model A window exhibit in the former McMullen Brothers Department Store Window, featuring a 1928 MG Boat Tail Roadster.



Museum awarded Maryland Department of Transportation grant

The Allegany Museum is thrilled to announce it is the recipient of a coveted Transportation Enhancement Program grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). Governor Martin O’Malley notified county officials and museum board members of the $150,000 award, which will support the construction of new exhibition spaces. The new exhibits will detail the Allegany region’s history as a transportation hub, including as a nexus of the National Road, railroads, and the C&O canal.

Construction is slated to begin in 2013 with the new exhibition halls unveiled in 2014. The MDOT grant will further funds previously awarded to the museum from the Naylor Family Foundation for the creation of new exhibitions.