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Bell Tower Building
Photograph by Kathleen McKenney, courtesy of the City of Cumberland

Cumberland police officers in front of the Bell Tower Building, date unknown
Photograph courtesy of City of Cumberland

The Bell Tower Building was the first police headquarters and jail built in Cumberland. It remains substantially unchanged since its construction in the late 1880s when it was added to the public building complex surrounding City Hall. The Bell Tower Building is a two-story brick square building, with a rounded short roof featuring a small wooden bell tower at its center. Although the original bells of the tower are gone, this prominent feature inspired the building's name.

In 1874, the city council identified the need for a new "Police Headquarters and Station House" (or jail). A special committee chose the corner of Liberty and Mill (now Bedford) Streets as the site for the new station. However, a purchase price for the land could not be agreed upon. Cumberland was still without a new station house nearly ten years later when the chosen lot was purchased by Jacob Humbrid, a prosperous railroad contractor for the Baltimore and Ohio. Humbrid, Mayor of Cumberland when negotiations for the Police Station lot had begun, leased the lot to the City in 1884, with the stipulation that the City of Cumberland build a "good and substantial" building on the site within two years. Newspaper clippings from May 5, 1885 indicate that the station house had been completed and was ready for occupancy. Another provision of the lease determined that at the time of Humbrid's death, in 1898, his heirs conveyed the property to the city.

The Bell Tower Building served as the police headquarters until 1936, when they were moved to the 1902 U.S. Courthouse and Post Office. It remained vacant until 1941, when the Allegany County League for Crippled Children established a clinic here. Today, the Bell Tower Building houses the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce.

The Bell Tower Building is located at the southwest corner of Bedford and Liberty Sts. Currently the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce, the building is open to the public during normal business hours, although tours are not available.

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