The forty-five years between 1895 and 1940 brought about the most change in the history of downtown Cumberland. Some would debate this saying that the urban renewal of the 1960s or creation of the mall in the 1970s was a much larger transformation. The major buildings of Baltimore Street and most of those on the side streets built before 1940 still remain today. Although the occupants have changed, the structures have been preserved. Modern downtown Cumberland remains a city built between 1895 and 1940.
In the late 1800s, the streets of Cumberland appeared much like they looked four decades earlier. Wood-frame, mostly two-and three-story buildings lined Baltimore Street. The streets were paved with wooden blocks and trolley car tracks supported the transportation systems that began in 1891. The wooden blocks were covered in the pollution left by horses and horse drawn wagons. The downtown was made worse by the frequent flooding the downtown suffered.
Downtown, especially Baltimore Street and the main cross streets, George, Centre, Liberty and Mechanic, would change dramatically from 1895-1940. The dirt on the streets and the cinders from trains faded away. The concrete sidewalks were filled with bustling pedestrian and automobile traffic patronizing the magnificent stores of the “new” downtown Cumberland