The Queen City Hotel was constructed in 1871 by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) in Cumberland, Maryland to serve both as a train station and as a destination. Hosting 174 rooms, it also had such features as formal gardens with a fountain, a ballroom and 400-seat dining room. It was torn down in 1972 to make room for a new main United States Post Office and Distribution facility with a much smaller station for Amtrak service between the new Post Office and the railroad tracks.
History and design
The hotel was built only a year after the B&O completed its rail connection to Pittsburgh. This placed Cumberland at a major junction of the route northwest to Pittsburgh and the B&O main line west of the Ohio River. The building was designed by Thomas N. Heskett of the B&O Road Department in the Italianate style, and the construction cost was over $350,000. The hotel served as a summer resort, although the railroad did not actively promote it as a tourist destination. Located in a valley surrounded by mountains, it provided an escape from the summer heat.
The year the hotel was finished, the B&O expanded its resort business by beginning the construction of the Deer Park Hotel in Garrett County. (The latter hotel closed in 1929 and was later destroyed by fire.)
The B&O completed construction of a new, expanded passenger station component in 1912. The station occupied three floors and included offices for the railroad company.
Decline and attempt at preservation
As with other railroads, passenger traffic on the B&O line declined in the mid-20th century. Interest in and occupancy of the hotel also declined. The hotel closed to the public in December 1964. Following a fire in 1969, the building was inspected by the city and declared to be a hazard. The B&O made plans to demolish the hotel, and supporters of historic preservation attempted court action to save the building. These efforts were unsuccessful and the B&O began demolition of the building in 1971.
The effort to preserve this ornate, Victorian-era structure was one of the classic preservation battles of the early 1970s. It was one of the last remaining railroad hotels in the U.S. The battle was lost when the building was demolished.
The hotel site is now occupied by the Cumberland Post Office.
- Western Maryland Railway Station (Cumberland, Maryland) (extant)
- Cumberland (Amtrak station)
- Works cited
- Newell, Dianne (1975). The Failure to Preserve the Queen City Hotel, Cumberland, Maryland. Case Studies in Preservation. Washington, D.C.: Preservation Press. ISBNÂ 978-0-89133-023-3.Â
- Stakem, Patrick H. (2008). Railroading Around Cumberland. Charleston, SC: Arcadia. p.Â 25. ISBNÂ 978-0-7385-5365-8.Â
- Queen City Hotel National Register of Historic Places
- Cumberland Amtrak Station
- Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No.Â MD-4, "Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Queen City Hotel & Station, West Side of Park Street, Opposite Ann Street, Cumberland, Allegany County, MD", 36Â photos, 2Â measured drawings, 4Â data pages, 2Â photo caption pages