In 1877 The Cumberland Club was organized as a voluntary association “for the purpose of mutual enjoyment of cultural and social amenities.” In that same year, the Club was incorporated by a special act of the Legislature, marking the beginning of a new social era for those who use their voice to influence Maine and enrich the communities in which they live.
Early members include Civil War hero turned Governor and President of Bowdoin College Joshua Chamberlain (for whom the Chamberlain Bar is named), Governor Percival Baxter
and the fiery Speaker of the House for most of the nineteenth century’s final decade, Thomas Brackett Reed.
The Maine temperance movement began well before the Eighteenth Amendment was passed. During Prohibition, The Cumberland Club served a different purpose for many members. While
it was illegal to sell or manufacture alcohol for consumption during this period, the law provided a gray area when it came to possession of a personal collection. The Club became, in effect, a common private room for members to store alcohol and socialize. In fact, the current U.S.S. Maine Room played host to many of these “private” social events. Authorities found a loophole since Club owned glasses were used to serve the alcohol at these quiet soirées, seizing 500 bottles in total and setting a dubious precedent for search and seizure in Maine.
From Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Olympia Snowe and Hillary Clinton, national players
have long found a warm place to relax at the Cumberland Club. This tradition continues
to this day – you really never know who you may run into.