Excepts from Allegany Almanack
Excerpts From the Allegany Almanack
Atty. W. A. Gunter has loaned the editor an interesting booklet entitled 'The Allegany County Letter League" published by the Monarch Press in 1945. It was an Almanack containing much relevant history of Allegany County which was sent to the boys overseas during World War II along with a monthly mimeographed letter. Mr. Gunter supervised and edited most of the material from his law office, and was assisted by Judge Sloan and Mary C. Kelly, their Secretary. During a period of seventeen months sixty-four thousand letters were sent. Many thousands of letters were received from the boys which have been mounted in scrapbooks, and are now in the files of Mr. Gunter. Here are some excerpts pertaining to local history:
"The burning coal mine on Dan's Mountain near Vale Summit, like Mt. Vesuvius, is still burning.
"Before I forget it, Earl, put this one down about Baltimore Street (Cumberland). It was not always named Baltimore Street. If you will look at the old town map filed in the Court House in 1806, you will see that what is now known as Baltimore Street was then called Bedford Street; and what is now known as Bedford Street was then named Blocher Street; and what is now known as Centre Street, at one time had three names at the same time, viz., Mill Street, Broad Street, and Jefferson Street. Furthermore, most all of the artisans and mechanics lived on a certain street, and so it was called 'Mechanic Street.'
"Across the street from Rosenbaums still stands Old Belvedere Hall, over a hundred years old and Cumberland's first theatre. Here in 1851 Jenny Lind, the famous Swedish singer gave a concert. Here also appeared America's famous midget, Col. Thomas Thumb. The shows and concerts of the old days on the second floor of Belvedere Hall are gone, and there has been substituted another form of entertainment, commonly known as 'Bingo.' (Editor's Note: Since Mr. Gunter wrote in 1945 Belvedere Hall has been dismantled).
"Allegany High School is located on a tract of land that was used by Union soldiers during the Civil War. This tract is known as Campo Bello, which translated means 'War Camp.'
"At the time of the Civil War, Fort Hill High School was not in existence. The land on which it is located was known as 'Fort Hill.' Confederate Generals McCausland and Johnson had burned Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, had exacted a tribute from Hagerstown, had demanded $30,000 from Hancock, and then started for Cumberland. On learning of the approach of the Confederate Army great excitement prevailed. A public meeting was held on Sunday night for the purpose of organizing a local militia to assist General Kelley and his soldiers in the defense of the city. Three companies were formed consisting of two hundred men under the command of General Charles M. Thruston, a retired army officer living in Cumberland. On Mon-
Editor: Felix G. Robinson
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms