Cumberland Times-News

Local News

July 28, 2013

Washington’s headquarters remains a tourism draw

Guest book includes visitors’ names from all over world

CUMBERLAND — The small log building that served as George Washington’s headquarters at the beginning and end of his military career is located right here in Cumberland. The guest book shows that visitors come from all over the world to get a peek into the life of America’s first great military leader and the man who created the presidency as it’s known today.

Washington began his military career as an aide to Gen. Edward Braddock in 1755 during the French and Indian War. He ended his career as commander in chief when he returned to Cumberland and organized troops to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, a violent tax protest by farmers who didn’t want to pay a new tax on their whiskey production. Washington took personal command and put on his uniform. It was the only time a sitting American president led troops in the field.

The guest book at the headquarters includes signatures from the Czech Republic, Germany and likely every state in the Union.

The headquarters’ interiors usually aren’t open, except during Heritage Days in June, although tours are available by appointment through the Allegany County Department of Tourism and other visitor organizations.

Stephanie Yonce gives most of those tours as a representative and the chief docent at the headquarters. Yonce is a member of the Cresap Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1934, the chapter was granted the exclusive right to host visitors at the building by the city of Cumberland, a right the chapter has held ever since.

The story of George Washington and his connections to the area remain fresh for her despite repeating them on a regular basis. Her enthusiasm came through as she recently gave a tour to a Texas family originally from the area, along with local relatives.

When about six people were in the cabin, the single room was quite crowded. A small table and bed occupy some of its space, since Washington would have both worked and slept there. Two mannequins in military dress are in the cabin, representing Washington as a young soldier and an older-looking figure representing Washington, the commander and chief of the colonial army.

“George Washington is worthy of being a hero,” Yonce said.

As a young surveyor, Washington met early settlers in the area, such as Col. Thomas Cresap.

Yonce prepared for visitors by sweeping the interior of the building and the porch and hanging the Betsey Ross flag along with a British flag on the porch’s pillars. Unless she’s away, Yonce almost never turns down a tour request.

Inside the cabin, artifacts include a cannonball found outside the perimeter of Fort Cumberland during excavations and a ceramic canteen, as well as a key to the cabin. There’s no way to know if it was the key Washington himself used, but Yonce thinks there’s a chance it was the same one. The current lock on the cabin door is a bit more sophisticated though. Arrowheads from local Indian tribes are also on display. One piece of very local history is a rifle made by Martin Rizer.

The cabin is now in its third location, having originally been on the grounds of Fort Cumberland where Emmanuel Episcopal Church now stands. That fort was de-garrisoned in 1763.

While the cabin was moved, it was taken apart and put back together, but except for a few pieces that were rotted and had to be replaced, the building itself is original, Yonce said. The logs that needed to be replaced were taken from the Black Horse tavern, which was roughly contemporaneous with Washington’s headquarters. People lived in the cabin until 1921, which helped with preservation, Yonce said.

When the cabin was dedicated at its current location in 1921, the keynote speaker was Gen.  John J. “Black Jack” Pershing,    who had been in command of U.S. troops during World War I. Also among those present was the then unknown George C. Marshall. The event drew thousands and may have been the biggest celebration in the city’s history.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at

Text Only
Local News
  • Overturned tanker upsets Oakland Overturned tanker upsets Oakland

    OAKLAND — Two large commercial wreckers were being used at mid-afternoon Wednesday to upright a tanker full of liquid propane that overturned several hours earlier in downtown Oakland and forced evacuation of the business district.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CODY EVERSOLE Eversole named 2014 Kelley Award winner

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser High School senior Cody Eversole was named this year’s J. Edward Kelley Award winner during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Potomac State College.
    The award is presented to an outstanding male student-athlete in each year’s senior class.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire

    CUMBERLAND — A South Cumberland home destroyed by fire last July was given a second chance recently after the owner decided he wanted to remain a part of the neighborhood and had his house rebuilt.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mineral BOE gives $18K to library

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to give the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library $18,000 for fiscal 2015 and to give the Piedmont library an additional $1,000 out of carryover funds.

    April 16, 2014

  • The Eichhorn family Local family says hosting New York City children in summer is ‘wonderful experience’

    CUMBERLAND — Sonya and Christopher Morgan of Cumberland always planned on a hosting a child through The Fresh Air Fund Volunteer Host Family Program. “Christopher always said once we had kids of our own we were going to do it. When our son turned 6 we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” said Sonya.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • City, county officials to talk baseball at work session

    CUMBERLAND — During today’s Allegany County Commission work session, a proposal to study the possibility of bringing a professional-level baseball team to the area will be vetted again, this time with participants from the city of Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Report: High-quality child care lacking in West Virginia

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 16, 2014

  • JIM HINEBAUGH Hinebaugh seeks Garrett County commissioner post

    Jim Hinebaugh recently announced his candidacy for Garrett County commissioner. A Garrett County native and lifelong Republican, Hinebaugh graduated from Southern High School and attended Frostburg State University before entering the U.S. Army via the draft. After serving as an enlisted member, Hinebaugh completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He retired as a colonel/06 in 1995 with almost 29 years of service including eight years overseas.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Brief - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

Must Read
News related video
Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Obama, Biden Announce $600M for Job Grants Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Boston Officials: No Bags at Marathon Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing