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Cumberland A.M.E. Church

Cumberland's Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Cumberland A.M.E. Church

Originally known as Bethel A.M.E., Cumberland's Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church was organized in 1847.

In that same year Lot #15 in Magruder's Addition to Cumberland was sold to the trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church by a Burgis Magruder. In 1863, after Magruder's death, his administrator confirmed the sale to the trustees, described as "free men of color". The deed mentions a "church and lot".

The first A.M.E. church, a plain brick building, was erected in 1848 on Frederick Street extended, then the edge of town. The construction work was undertaken at that time by freed slaves. Blacks represented many of the skilled building trades in Cumberland's early history and applied those talents to the task at hand. The church was rebuilt and enlarged in 1871, and enlarged again in 1875.

In 1883, the first story of a new church was built and dedicated at a new location on the corner of Frederick and Decatur Streets. A deed to the church site had been drawn up in 1888 at a cost of $650.00. It was paid off the following year by the Congregation and the deed released to them.

The A.M.E. church we know today, a two-story Gothic type style architecture, had its second story constructed in 1892 with the work being undertaken by congregational members and friends. It was at this time, on a Sunday, September 10, 1892, the cornerstone of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was laid at the corner of Decatur and Frederick Streets. The Allegany Guards, the First Western Maryland Band, the Free-Masons, the Knights of Pythias, and Laboring Sons, attended in a body in their uniforms. Those in attendance numbered 2,500. The stone was set by the Master Masons.


Text from Cumberland, Maryland Through the Eyes of Herman J. Miller, The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, 170th Anniversary Celebration publication, the City of Cumberland and Lowdermilk's, History of Cumberland, Maryland.

Photograph by Albert Feldstein.

Collection Location:
Allegany County, Maryland

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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