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Canada Hose Company
Photograph by Kathleen McKenney, courtesy of the City of Cumberland

Rear of Canada Hose Company, 1979
NPS Photograph by David A. Dorsey

The Canada Hose Company Building is the oldest of several Cumberland firehouses built in the 19th century. Typical of firehouses of that era, the firehouse building possesses large double wooden doors, above which are the words "Cumberland Hose Co. No. 1." A unique feature of the building is its large arched window on the second floor. The building stands today as a notable example of utilitarian civic architecture.

The firehouse was built following a major fire in Cumberland in 1833, which destroyed 75 buildings in the heart of the downtown area. The Cumberland Fire Engine Company had been formed three years earlier, but at the outbreak of the blaze, still had only a small amount of fire fighting equipment. As a result of this catastrophe, the city purchased new equipment for the firefighters, including a "Gooseneck" fire engine, "four ladders, three hooks, (and) four axes." The city also allotted $30 toward the construction of a new firehouse. Until the completion of the firehouse, members met in a box shed where the new engine was being stored. In 1840 the Cumberland Fire Engine Company was officially incorporated and in 1845 moved into its new firehouse on Mechanic Street, on the north bank of the Potomac River. By 1882, the Hose Company had 100 members.

Not only an outstanding example of utilitarian civic architecture, the Canada Hose Company today reflects the public pride and responsibility of the city's 19th-century residents. Currently, the firehouse is occupied by the Cumberland Neighborhood Housing office.

The Canada Hose Company Building is located at 400-402 N. Mechanic St. Tours can be arranged by calling the Cumberland Neighborhood Housing office at 301-722-6958.

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