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The Howard and the Garden, Cumberland

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


The Howard and the Garden

On July 11, 1927 the Howard Theatre opened in Cumberland. Located at 126 North Mechanic Street the Howard was a theatre that served the area’s African-American community and provided movie showings twice an evening. Unfortunately, for whatever reason this did not work out and on October 31, 1927 the theatre reopened under a new name, The Garden.

However, and as noted in this advertisement which appeared in the Cumberland newspaper, The Garden was for “White Patronage Only” and would remain such until shortly before its closing in 1954. The site is now occupied by the John F. Kennedy Apartments.

Some additional information in an unpublished 1978 work entitled Cumberland, Maryland Through The Eyes of Herman J. Miller states that the Howard Theatre and Dancing Academy at 127 North Mechanic Street opened on July 11, 1927. This movie theatre and dance hall was for African-Americans. At the opening of the Howard there were speeches by Cumberland Mayor Thomas W. Koon, and the Reverend Nathaniel Minor. On November 1, 1927, due to lack of patronage the Howard Theatre was changed to the Garden Theatre and was for white people only.


The advertisement was provided courtesy of Tim McGuire

The history is from Reflections of the Silver Screen: A History of Allegany County Movie Theatres, by the Allegany High School Social Studies Department, Oral History Project, 2000.

As noted in the advertisement and the text there is a small discrepancy in the street address. The 1946 Cumberland City Directory actually identifies a third address, this being 125 N. Mechanic Street. This is understandable as addresses change over the years with changing streetscapes.


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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