Allegany County, Maryland is a rural county located in Western Maryland, bordering West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It is the westernmost county in the state and the second largest by land area. The county seat is Cumberland, which serves as a hub for business, industry, healthcare and education. See list of counties in Maryland.
The county was created in 1789 from part of Washington County and named for a Native American tribe known as the Allegewi, who lived along the Potomac River prior to European settlement. The land was historically used for farming and forestry, with local industries such as coal mining also having an impact on its economy.
Allegany County has an abundance of natural beauty, with numerous parks, trails and rivers that provide opportunities for outdoor recreation. There are two state parks located within its borders: Green Ridge State Forest and New Germany State Park. The Appalachian Trail also runs through this area of Maryland offering hikers stunning views of its forests and mountains. Other attractions include Great Allegheny Passage bike trail, Canal Place Heritage Area with its historic canal system, Rocky Gap State Park with its lake and golf course, C&O Canal Towpath National Historic Park along the Potomac River as well as many other smaller parks throughout the county.
Cumberland serves as both a cultural center for Allegany County residents as well as an economic hub for the region. The city has undergone major revitalization efforts to make it more attractive to visitors while still preserving its historic charm. It is home to Allegany College of Maryland which offers associates degrees in various fields; Frostburg State University which offers undergraduate degrees; and C&O Canal National Historic Park which provides educational programs about the history of America’s transportation system from 1820-1930s.
The Allegany Museum showcases artifacts related to local history including Native American cultures that once inhabited this area; while Downtown Cumberland is home to many unique shops that feature locally made products such as pottery, jewelry, woodwork and more. There are also festivals throughout the year such as Arts Alive!, JazzFest at Canal Place Heritage Area or even train rides on Western Maryland Scenic Railroad!
Allegany County has something for everyone! Its rich history combined with modern amenities make it an ideal place to live or visit! Whether you’re looking to explore outdoors or experience some culture indoors – Allegany County has something special waiting just around every corner! From outdoor activities like camping or fishing at one of our many lakes or rivers – to relaxing at our local wineries or taking a leisurely stroll through Downtown Cumberland – you’ll find something new every time you visit Allegany County.
History of Allegany County, Maryland
Allegany County, Maryland is located in the westernmost part of the state and borders West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The county was formed in 1789 when the Maryland General Assembly divided Frederick County into three parts: Washington, Allegany, and Garrett. The name Allegany is derived from a Native American word meaning “fine stream” and refers to the Youghiogheny River which flows through the county.
The area that would become Allegany County was originally inhabited by Native American tribes including the Shawnee, Susquehannock, Iroquois, and Delaware. The first European settlers arrived in 1730 with most coming from Pennsylvania and Virginia. In 1745 the first fort was built in present-day Cumberland to protect settlers from Native American attacks. By the late 1700s there were several small settlements throughout Allegany County which eventually grew into larger towns such as Frostburg, Lonaconing, and Westernport.
In 1815, a road was built through Cumberland connecting it to Baltimore and Washington D.C., making it an important transportation hub for goods moving between these two cities. During this time many industries began to develop in Allegany County such as coal mining, lumbering, iron smelting, tanning leathers goods manufacturing, glass production, paper mills and more. These industries helped spur economic growth throughout the region and by 1850 Cumberland had become a major transportation center with several railroads running through it including the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O).
By 1860, Allegany County had grown significantly with a population of over 18 thousand people spread out across its townships. During this period industrialization continued with new factories being opened throughout Cumberland while other towns such as LaVale developed into important hubs for coal mining operations supplying coal to larger cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
During World War II, several military bases were established in Allegany County including Fort Ritchie which served as an Army training center until its closure in 1998 due to base realignment program (BRAC). Following World War II many of the factories that had previously operated in Cumberland closed down resulting in significant job losses throughout the county; however new industries such as healthcare began emerging during this period helping to offset some of these losses. Today Allegany County is home to several large employers including UPMC Western Maryland Medical Center (formerly Memorial Hospital), Amazon Fulfillment Center (which opened its doors in 2017) and Frostburg State University among others; all of which contribute significantly towards economic growth within the region.