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History

-Taken from a pamphlet found in the Cumberland City Hall Office

“In 1884, the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad bought land from John Worthington for a town to serve as the terminus of a branch from Creston. By the time the first train arrived , July 4, 1886, Cumberland was a thriving community.

There is still some disagreement on how Cumberland got its name. Since several eastern cities were named Cumberland, it’s likely an early settler named the new town after his home in the east.

By 1890, Cumberland had a population of 400 people and early businesses included, grocery stores, wagon makers, blacksmiths, drug stores, harness makers, dressmakers and milliners, hard-ware stores, furniture stores, lumber yards, banks, barber shops, a creamery, hotel, livery barns, etc. A brick plant began operation in 1897 and operated until 1914. Several buildings still stand that were made of local brick.

The town has had several newspapers through the years, and a number of doctors and dentists have practiced here.

In 1897, a telephone line was run between Cumberland and the coal mining community of Briscoe, eight miles south. With a change of name, the telephone company continues to this day.

After the 1902 fire that destroyed most of the buildings on the east side of main street, a wooden water tower was built south of the school house and water mains were installed that served part of the City. In 1915, a larger steel water tower was constructed and additional mains added. The present steel tower holds 75,000 gallons and was built in 1979.

In the early days a flagpole on Main Street was used to notif the citizens of expected weather.

Early street lighting was by gas. In 1915, Jim White got the first franchise for furnishing electric power to the community.

The local farmers cooperative, now called 21st Century, was organized in 1919.

In 1920, another fire burned the wooden building on the west side of  Main Street, leaving three buildings standing. One of the buildings that was destroyed was the three- story Opera House where silent movies were showns and Billy Sunday and William Jennings Bryan spoke. During the heyday of Chau-tauqua, week-long programs of entertainment and “uplift” were presented in tents at Asa Sherwin’s pasture, site of the present City Park.

The City’s outstanding Volunteer Fire Department was organized in 1935.

In a highly-publicized robbery of the Cumberland Savings Bank, on February 12, 1935, the robbers took $1,050.

The City’s sewer system was built in the 1960s. The waste treatment plant was changed to a lagoon system in 1998.

For many years Cumberland was served by two passenger trains daily – affectionately named the Cumberland Rose. In the 1960′s passenger trains were discontinued, but freight trains continued to haul freight to and from the City until the early 1980s.

In 1984, the City celebrated its Centennial (100 years) with a week of programs and actiivities.

In 2009 the City of Cumberland celebrated their Quasquicentennial (125 years) with a weekend long celebration including a parade around the City.

According to the 2010 Census the City of Cumberland has a population of 262 with 116 households and 66 families.

In 2013 the City began drawing plans to replace the City’s water mains.

In 2014 the City of Cumberland finished replacing the City’s water mains, bringing a new quality of water to Cumberland.

 

 

HISTORICAL PHOTOS