Centennial of City Hall

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Centennial of Cumberland's City Hall

Rededication Ceremony, June 12, 2011


Cumberland's City Hall was built in 1911, with the cornerstone laid by the Free Masons in June 1911.  In June 2011, the building was rededicated, honoring one hundred years of history in Cumberland.

The original trowel used in the laying of the cornerstone was included in the rededication, as held by Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim.


The Free Masons participated in rededicating the cornerstone, recreating the ceremony used in the original dedication, as well as the instruments used in the laying of the cornerstone.



History of the Building


Cumberland’s original city hall was built in 1876, having been started in 1874, but was destroyed by a massive fire on March 14, 1910.  The ground floor of the original city hall was a market place.  Half of the second and third stories were occupied by city officials and government offices.  The other half of the third floor was reserved for use by fraternal organizations.  The other half of the second floor was devoted to the Academy of Music.





The original city hall was built of brick, the walls being eighteen inches thick and resting upon a rock foundation four feet thick.  The ground floor was occupied by a 10,000 foot market place.




On June 6, 1911, the cornerstone of the current City Hall was laid, and the first Council meeting was held on March 25, 1912.  The cornerstone is located on the Centre Street side of the building, near the intersection with Bedford Street, and contains many items in a time capsule, including a Bible, City Directory, photographs of the old and new city halls, photos of city officials (including Mayor George Young), coins from the time period, the city charter, and copies of the Evening Times and Daily News.


In celebration of the Centennial of City Hall, the time capsule is planned to be opened in the Summer of 2011.  The contents will then be placed on display in City Hall.








George Washington’s Mural


The mural on the upper rotunda of City Hall was painted by Mrs. Gertrude DuBrau Kogler in 1920.  Mrs. Kogler was born in Germany, came to the United States with her parents, as a child, and settled in Maryland.  She received her training at the Maryland Institute of Art and Design in Baltimore, and spent two years at the Royal Academy in Leipzig and the Dusseldorf Academy.


Mrs. Kogler resided in Cumberland for 20 years, operating a gift shop on N. Centre Street, which was destroyed by the flood of 1936.  After that, she and her husband returned to Germany, where during World War II, the bombings destroyed nearly all of her possessions, including her paintings.  Her husband also perished.  She returned to the United States in 1955, and resided in Lakewood at Tacoma, Washington, where she died at the age of 76.


The painting in the rotunda is believed to be the only existing portrayal of the first and last occasions on which George Washington commanded troops.


The first occasion shows Washington as a young Virginia militia-man, under General Braddock, who is seen entering old Fort Cumberland in 1754, in his gold chariot, to begin his ill-fated campaign against Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh).


Washington made his final military appearance at Fort Cumberland in 1794, as Commander-in-Chief of the American Armies.  The painting depicts American troops passing in review before General Washington, on his way to nearby Pennsylvania, to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion.  This was his final field command. 


The mural is 15 feet tall and 45 feet long.


Because of Washington’s early experiences with provisional military forces at Cumberland, prior to the state of the Seven Years’ War between England and France, Cumberland has been referred to as the “Military Birthplace of George Washington.”



Many photos compliments of the Herman Miller collection.