Allegany County
Allegany County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Maryland
Maryland's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 39°38′N 78°41′W / 39.63°N 78.69°W / 39.63; -78.69
Country United States
State Maryland
FoundedDecember 25, 1789
Named forAllegheny Mountains
Largest cityCumberland
 • Total430 sq mi (1,100 km2)
 • Land424 sq mi (1,100 km2)
 • Water5.8 sq mi (15 km2)  1.3%
 • Total68,106
 • Density160/sq mi (61/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district6th

Allegany County is located in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2020 census, the population was 68,106.[1] Its county seat is Cumberland.[2] The name Allegany may come from a local Lenape word, welhik hane[3][4] or oolikhanna, which means 'best flowing river of the hills' or 'beautiful stream'.[5] A number of counties and a river in the Appalachian region of the US are named Allegany, Allegheny, or Alleghany.

Allegany County is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is a part of the Western Maryland "panhandle".


The western part of Maryland (including the present Allegany County) was originally part of Prince George's County when Maryland was formed in 1696.[6] This county included six current counties, and by repeated splitting, new ones were generated: Frederick from Prince George's in 1748;[7] and Montgomery and Washington from Frederick in 1776.[8]

Allegany County was formed in 1789 by the splitting of Washington County.[9] At the time it was the westernmost county in Maryland, but a split in 1872 produced Garrett County, the current westernmost county.[7]

Prior to 1789, the Virginia Commonwealth claimed the area of present-day Garrett and Allegany Counties, of Maryland. A 1771–1780 map of Virginias counties, shows Hampshire County, but the Virginia State boundary has Hampshire outside that boundary line. When conducting genealogical research, it is possible to find tax records for Hampshire County, Virginia included in Maryland records, and Maryland records in Hampshire County... Hampshire County was formed in 1758 by the Virginia Commonwealth and at its founding, included the present day counties of Garrett and Allegheny Counties in Maryland, and Hardy, Grant, Mineral, and part of Morgan Counties in what is now West Virginia.[10]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 430 square miles (1,100 km2), of which 424 square miles (1,100 km2) is land and 5.8 square miles (15 km2) (1.3%) is water.[11]

Allegany County lies primarily in the Ridge-and-Valley Country of the Appalachian Mountains. It is bordered to the north by the Mason–Dixon line with Pennsylvania, to the south by the Potomac River and West Virginia, to the east by Sideling Hill Creek and Washington County, Maryland, and to the west by a land border with Garrett County, Maryland. The western part of the county contains a portion of the steep Allegheny Front, which marks the transition to the higher-elevation Appalachian Plateau and Allegheny Mountain region. The town of Frostburg is located west of the Front at an elevation of nearly 2,100 feet above sea level, while the county seat of Cumberland, only eight miles away, has an elevation of only 627 feet.


Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010–2020[1]

2000 census

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 74,930 people, 29,322 households, and 18,883 families residing in the county. The population density was 176 people per square mile (68/km2). There were 32,984 housing units at an average density of 78 per square mile (30/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.02% White, 5.35% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. 0.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 29.0% were of German, 16.7% US or American, 12.8% Irish, 10.7% English and 5.3% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000.[17]

There were 29,322 households, out of which 26.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.60% were married couples living together, 10.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.60% were non-families. 30.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 20.60% under the age of 18, 11.20% from 18 to 24, 26.80% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 17.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 99.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,821, and the median income for a family was $39,886. Males had a median income of $31,316 versus $21,334 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,780. About 9.70% of families and 14.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.70% of those under age 18 and 9.50% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2010, Allegany County had a racial and ethnic population composition of 88.16% Non-Hispanic whites, 8.03% Blacks, 0.14% Native Americans, 0.76% Asians, 0.04% Pacific Islanders, 0.08% Non-Hispanics who reported some other race, 1.47% Non-Hispanics who reported two or more races and 1.44% Hispanics.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 75,087 people, 29,177 households, and 17,959 families residing in the county.[18] The population density was 177.0 inhabitants per square mile (68.3/km2). There were 33,311 housing units at an average density of 78.5 per square mile (30.3/km2).[19] The racial makeup of the county was 89.2% white, 8.0% black or African American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% American Indian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.4% of the population.[18] In terms of ancestry, 31.8% were German, 14.6% were Irish, 11.9% were English, 11.8% were American, and 5.6% were Italian.[20]

Of the 29,177 households, 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.0% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 38.4% were non-families, and 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.86. The median age was 40.9 years.[18]

The median income for a household in the county was $37,747 and the median income for a family was $52,680. Males had a median income of $42,322 versus $29,594 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,764. About 9.6% of families and 14.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.3% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.[21]




Census-designated places

Occupying a middle ground between incorporated and unincorporated areas are Special Tax Districts, quasi-municipal unincorporated areas created by legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly.[2] They lack home rule authority and must petition the General Assembly for changes affecting the authority of the district. There are eight Special Tax Districts in the county:

Other census-designated places in the county include:

Unincorporated communities

Government and infrastructure

Current government

The Allegany County Government is governed by a 3-member board of County Commissioners.

Board of County Commissioners
Position Name Affiliation District
  President Jacob C Shade Republican At-Large
  Commissioner Creade V Brode Jr Republican At-Large
  Commissioner David J Caporale Republican At-Large
Orphans Court
Position Name Affiliation District
  Chief Judge Donna May Republican At-Large
  Judge Edward Crossland Republican At-Large
  Judge Albert Feldstein Republican At-Large
Position Name Affiliation District
  Sheriff Craig Robertson Republican At-Large
Clerk of the Court
Position Name Affiliation District
  Clerk of the Court Dawne D Lindsey Republican At-Large
Register of Wills
Position Name Affiliation District
  Register of Wills Mary Beth Pirolozzi Republican At-Large
States Attorney
Position Name Affiliation District
  States Attorney Michael O Twigg Republican At-Large
General Assembly
Position Name Affiliation District
  Senate George C. Edwards Republican District 1
  House of Delegates Wendell R. Beitzel Republican District 1A
  House of Delegates Jason C. Buckel Republican District 1B
  House of Delegates Mike McKay Republican District 1C
U.S Congress
Position Name Affiliation District
  House of Representatives David Trone Democratic District 6


The library system was created in 1960, when libraries in Cumberland, Frostburg, LaVale, Pennsylvania Avenue School, and Westernport were merged to form a unified library system. The first of the libraries which would make up the library system was the Washington Street library, founded in 1924. The most recent addition to the library system was the Georges Creek library, which opened in March 2001. The Allegany County Library System currently has six branches: Frostburg Library, Georges Creek Library, LaVale Library, South Cumberland Library, Washington Street Library, and Westernport Library.[22]


The North Branch Correctional Institution, (opened 2003), and the earlier adjacent Western Correctional Institution are operated by the Division of Corrections of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, (with its headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland) is located in an unincorporated area of Allegany County, just southwest of Cumberland.[23] The prison housed male death row inmates, who were moved from the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center, from June 2010 until death row was closed in 2014.[24]


Allegany County was granted a home rule form of government in 1974. It is a strongly Republican county, the last Democrat to win a majority being Jimmy Carter in 1976.[25] The only other Democrats to carry the county since 1880 have been Lyndon B. Johnson, Franklin D. Roosevelt (twice), and by very narrow margins Harry S. Truman in 1948 and Woodrow Wilson in 1912.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment of Allegany County[26]
Party Total Percentage
Democratic 12,810 29.52%
Republican 22,280 51.35%
Independents, unaffiliated, and other 8,303 19.13%
Total 43,393 100.00%
Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[27]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 68.2% 20,886 29.9% 9,158 2.0% 597
2016 69.4% 21,270 25.7% 7,875 4.9% 1,509
2012 64.4% 19,230 32.9% 9,805 2.7% 815
2008 61.9% 18,405 36.0% 10,693 2.2% 644
2004 63.6% 18,980 35.4% 10,576 1.0% 299
2000 55.6% 14,656 41.3% 10,894 3.1% 821
1996 46.7% 12,136 42.4% 11,025 10.9% 2,840
1992 45.3% 13,862 37.6% 11,501 17.1% 5,232
1988 59.2% 17,462 40.2% 11,844 0.7% 197
1984 63.3% 19,763 35.7% 11,143 1.0% 317
1980 55.6% 17,512 38.7% 12,167 5.7% 1,805
1976 49.2% 15,435 50.9% 15,967
1972 64.6% 20,687 33.7% 10,808 1.7% 553
1968 42.5% 13,561 41.5% 13,227 16.1% 5,122
1964 37.8% 12,384 62.3% 20,425
1960 59.9% 20,489 40.1% 13,701
1956 65.3% 20,239 34.7% 10,775
1952 56.8% 19,186 43.0% 14,529 0.1% 47
1948 49.0% 14,375 49.1% 14,398 1.9% 562
1944 50.4% 15,589 49.6% 15,345
1940 44.3% 14,804 55.2% 18,456 0.6% 188
1936 35.9% 11,191 63.2% 19,721 0.9% 291
1932 49.1% 12,911 45.7% 12,033 5.2% 1,378
1928 67.7% 19,443 31.5% 9,026 0.8% 234
1924 55.2% 9,042 27.1% 4,442 17.6% 2,886
1920 57.4% 9,595 33.7% 5,643 8.9% 1,487
1916 51.6% 5,760 43.5% 4,859 5.0% 553
1912 16.3% 1,396 39.4% 3,382 44.4% 3,815[28]
1908 48.9% 5,178 45.2% 4,791 5.9% 622
1904 56.3% 5,232 35.8% 3,326 7.9% 731
1900 54.6% 5,944 41.6% 4,527 3.8% 409


I-68 and US 40 in Allegany County
I-68 and US 40 in Allegany County

Allegany County has been, since colonial times, an important node on the nation's transportation network as a key transition point in the movement of goods and people to and from the ports of the Mid-Atlantic and the agricultural and industrial production centers of the Ohio Valley and Midwest. The Cumberland Narrows, a naturally-occurring watergap separating Wills and Haystack Mountains, serves as one of the few passages through what is otherwise one of the steepest rushes of the Ridge and Valley province. Because of this, Cumberland has been the site of both planned and completed transportation projects focused on connecting east and west.

On his fateful march from Alexandria to Fort Duquesne in modern-day Pittsburgh during the French and Indian War, British General Edward Braddock and his men, including then-Lieutenant Colonel and Braddock's aide-de-camp George Washington, carved a road, closely following the Native American Nemacolin's Path, from the British encampment at Fort Cumberland, through the Allegheny Mountains all the way to Fort Duquesne.[29] This road, known in early America as Braddock's Road, became the guidelines for the earliest sections of the Cumberland Road, or what later became known as the National Road. Specifically, the section on Braddock's Road from Cumberland to Uniontown, Pennsylvania was followed nearly exactly in the early construction of the National Road.[30] A monument to the start of the National Road now stands on Greene Street in Cumberland, very near the spot Braddock and his men began their expedition.[31]

In modern times, Allegany County is an important regional crossroads. It is crossed from east to west by Interstate 68 and US Route 40, and from north to south by US Route 220, which from Cumberland to the Mason-Dixon Line is part of the Appalachian Development Highway System's Corridor O.

Major highways


Public transportation


Public K-12 education in the county is handled by Allegany County Public Schools (ACPS). ACPS is governed by an elected, five member Board of Education, plus an appointed superintendent. ACPS manages three high schools (grades 9-12), three middle schools (grades 6-8), 13 elementary schools (grades K-5), and one K-8 school, plus the Center for Career and Technical Education in Cresaptown, and the Eckhart Alternative School in Eckhart Mines.[32]

Allegany County is also home to three Christian parochial schools: Bishop Walsh School (Catholic) in Cumberland, Lighthouse Christian Academy (non-denominational) in Cumberland, and Calvary Christian Academy (non-denominational) in Cresaptown.[33]

Allegany County is home to Frostburg State University, one of the eleven member universities of the University System of Maryland, and the only public, four-year university in Maryland west of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. The university, founded in 1898 as the Frostburg State Normal School, FSU, as the university is known to students and alumni, now offers more than 40 undergraduate majors and has a yearly enrollment consistently over 5,000 students.[34]

A junior college experience is available in Allegany County with the Allegany College of Maryland, located in Cumberland. Allegany College provides more than 50 associate degree programs and more than 20 certificate programs, and has more than 3,500 enrollees and more than 16,000 registrants in its Continuing Education programs. ACM also operates a satellite campus in Everett, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles north of Cumberland in Bedford County.[35]

Natural resources

The primary mineral resources extracted for use in Allegany County are coal, iron, sandstone, and limestone. Coal bearing formations are concentrated in the Georges Creek Basin in the western part of the county.

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "welhik". Lenape Talking Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  4. ^ "Heckewelder here does not give the strict meaning of hanne. The word in common use among Algonkin [i.e., Algonquian] tribes for river is sipu, and this includes the idea of 'a stream of flowing water'. But in the mountainous parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia sipu did not sufficiently convey the idea of a rapid stream, roaring down mountain gorges, and hanne takes its place to designate not a mere sipu, or flowing river, but a rapid mountain stream." Russell, Erret (1885). "Indian Geographical Names". The Magazine of Western History. 2 (1): 53–59. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  5. ^ Alleghany, or as some prefer to write it, Allegheny,—the Algonkin name of the Ohio River, but now restricted to one of its branches,—is probably (Delaware) welhik-hanné or [oo]lik-hanné, 'the best (or, the fairest) river.' Welhik (as Zeisberger wrote it) is the inanimate form of the adjectival, meaning 'best,' 'most beautiful.' In his Vocabulary, Zeisberger gave this synthesis, with slight change of orthography, as "Wulach'neü" [or [oo]lakhanne[oo], as Eliot would have written it,] with the free translation, "a fine River, without Falls." The name was indeed more likely to belong to rivers 'without falls' or other obstruction to the passage of canoes, but its literal meaning is, as its composition shows, "best rapid-stream," or "finest rapid-stream;" "La Belle Riviere" of the French, and the Oue-yo´ or O hee´ yo Gä-hun´-dä, "good river" or "the beautiful river," of the Senecas. For this translation of the name we have very respectable authority,—that of Christian Frederick Post, a Moravian of Pennsylvania, who lived seventeen years with the Muhhekan Indians and was twice married among them, and whose knowledge of the Indian languages enabled him to render important services to the colony, as a negotiator with the Delawares and Shawanese of the Ohio, in the French war. In his "Journal from Philadelphia to the Ohio" in 1758, after mention of the 'Alleghenny' river, he says: "The Ohio, as it is called by the Sennecas. Alleghenny is the name of the same river in the Delaware language. Both words signify the fine or fair river." La Metairie, the notary of La Salle's expedition, "calls the Ohio, the Olighinsipou, or Aleghin; evidently an Algonkin name,"—as Dr. Shea remarks. Heckewelder says that the Delawares "still call the Allegany (Ohio) river, Alligéwi Sipu,"—"the river of the Alligewi" as he chooses to translate it. In one form, we have wulik-hannésipu, 'best rapid-stream long-river;' in the other, wuliké-sipu, 'best long-river.' Heckewelder's derivation of the name, on the authority of a Delaware legend, from the mythic 'Alligewi' or 'Talligewi,'—"a race of Indians said to have once inhabited that country," who, after great battles fought in pre-historic times, were driven from it by the all-conquering Delawares,—is of no value, unless supported by other testimony. Trumbull, J. Hammond (1870). The Composition of Indian Geographical Names. Hartford, Conn. pp. 13–14. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  6. ^ Thomas, James W. and Williams, Thomas J.C. History of Allegany County, Maryland. Baltimore, Md.: Regional Publishing Co., 1969, p. 289.
  7. ^ a b Bentley, Elizabeth Petty. County Courthouse Book. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009, p. 128.
  8. ^ Bentley, Elizabeth Petty. County Courthouse Book. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009, p. 129.
  9. ^ Bentley, Elizabeth Petty. County Courthouse Book. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009, p. 126.
  10. ^ Virginia Counties Map of 1771–1780; Henry Howe's 1845 History of Virginia.
  11. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  13. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  14. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  15. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. ^ The last five National Origin figures are taken from the Long Form, which was given to less than 20% of respondents but then extrapolated to the whole. Besides this problem in making a comparison, the long form also limits people to only two stated ancestries, but unlike racial counts, if someone states two ancestries they are counted in both, while in racial counts they are grouped as "some other race."
  18. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  19. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  20. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  21. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  22. ^ "Allegany County Library System A Brief History | Allegany County Library System". Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  23. ^ "North Branch Correctional Institution." North Branch Correctional Institution. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  24. ^ Calvert, Scott and Kate Smith. "Death row inmates transferred to W. Maryland." The Baltimore Sun. June 25, 2010. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  25. ^ Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
  26. ^ "Summary of Voter Activity Report" (PDF). Maryland State Board of Elections. August 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  27. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections".
  28. ^ The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 2,631 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 1,036 votes, Prohibition candidate Eugene Chafin received 121 votes, and Labor candidate Arthur Reimer received 27 votes.
  29. ^ JessJuanDring says (2017-02-07). "Braddock's Defeat, 1755: French and Indian War". HistoryNet. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  30. ^ Farmington, Mailing Address: 1 Washington Parkway; Us, PA 15437 Phone:329-5512 Contact. "The National Road - Fort Necessity National Battlefield (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  31. ^ "National Road and Monument". C&O Canal Trust. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  32. ^ "Allegany County Public Schools / Homepage". Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  33. ^ "Private Schools | Allegany County, Maryland Chamber of Commerce |". Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  34. ^ "Frostburg State University". Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  35. ^ "Home | Allegany College of Maryland". Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  36. ^ a b Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
  37. ^ [1]

Coordinates: 39°38′N 78°41′W / 39.63°N 78.69°W / 39.63; -78.69