Some of America’s most famous entertainers of the 1930s era, because they were African-Americans, were barred from staying in Cumberland, Maryland’s mainstream hotels. Such notable musicians as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, and others often stayed at the Davis Tourist Home while on tour. These stays were often a week at a time when their bands came into town to play the Cadillac Lounge, Crystal Park, and other venues.
The Davis Tourist Home was located at 329 Frederick Street. The 14-room house contained a kitchen and dining room on the first floor, and was operated by John (1898-1959) and Towanda Davis (1902-2001), and then by Mrs. Davis upon John’s passing.
The Davis Tourist Home also had a contract with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to provide overnight housing for the black railroad porters and dining-car employees who had to layover while working the Capitol Limited from Chicago to Washington. Each employee brought an official written authorization from the B&O to the Davises which allowed their stay at the Home.
sources: Western Maryland Regional Library
Cumberland Daily News, September 26, 1935