You are here

Emmanuel Episcopal Church and Parish Hall

-A A +A
1849–1851 church, John Notman; c. 1902–1903 parish house, Bruce Price. 16 Washington St.
  • (Photograph by Chris Stevens)
  • (Photograph by Chris Stevens)
  • (Photograph by Chris Stevens)
  • (Photograph by Chris Stevens)

Located at the site of Fort Cumberland on a high hill overlooking downtown Cumberland, Emmanuel Episcopal Church is among the most prominent landmarks of this small city. Philadelphia architect John Notman designed the church in accordance with the practices of high church liturgy, as advocated by the Oxford Movement within the Anglican church (Episcopal in the United States). He used St. Paul’s, Brighton (1846–1848) as a model for the unconventional location of the tower against the chancel. St. Paul's had been featured in the journal the Ecclesiologist, which was published by the Cambridge Camden Society (Ecclesiological Society). Closely related to the Oxford Movement, this group advocated the return of medieval—in particular Gothic—architectural components, fittings, and furniture in existing and new churches as a means of reengaging the spirituality of the traditional liturgy principally associated, since the time of the Protestant Reformation, with Roman Catholicism. Within the United States, Notman joined his even more celebrated and prolific contemporary, Richard Upjohn, as one of the most sought after designers of “Anglo-Catholic” churches.

Around the time he was at work on Emmanuel Episcopal, Notman was also designing churches for Episcopal congregations in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. Cumberland’s Emmanuel Episcopal was simpler in plan and finish than those in these larger, wealthier cities, but they shared key elements, including stone construction, lancet window and door openings, a large multistage tower, a timber roof carried on decorative hammer beams, and a defined chancel providing a liturgical focus. Unlike most of Notman’s other churches, Emmanuel Episcopal included prominent transepts, which established visual grounding for the building on its lofty and exposed site and provided a distinct seating area for enslaved and free African American congregants.

Around 1902–1903, prominent New York architect Bruce Price designed the complementary Parish Hall located to the south of the church and discreetly connected to it via an enclosed, one-story arcaded passage. Price spent his childhood in Cumberland and his family belonged to the Emmanuel Episcopal congregation, likely leading to his decision to not charge for the plans. In 1905–1906, Louis Comfort Tiffany furnished designs for a new high altar and reredos, an altar cross, candelabra, and stained glass windows, which in subsequent years were manufactured by the Tiffany Studios.


Andrews, Ronald L. “Emmanuel Episcopal Church and Parish Hall,” Allegany County, Maryland. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 1975. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.

Greiff, Constance. John Notman, Architect. Philadelphia: Athenaeum of Philadelphia, 1979.

Ridout, Orlando, IV. “Emmanuel Church,” Allegany County, Maryland. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 1972. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.

Stanton, Phoebe B. The Gothic Revival and American Church Architecture: An Episode in Taste, 1840–1856. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968.

Writing Credits

James A. Jacobs
Lisa P. Davidson
Catherine C. Lavoie



  • 1849

    Church constructed
  • 1902

    Parish house constructed
  • 1905

    interior renovations

What's Nearby


James A. Jacobs, "Emmanuel Episcopal Church and Parish Hall", [Cumberland, Maryland], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,