James Rada, Jr.
(3/20) Thurmont’s trolley projects
received a large boost last week with $55,000
in grants from the State of Maryland. A
$30,000 Community Legacy grant will help
restore the old Thurmont trolley car that is
sitting on East Main Street next to the
electric substation and $25,000 will go to the
Thurmont Lions Club to complete their
development of the trolley path into a
John Kinnaird with the Thurmont Historical
Society has been championing the return of the
trolley to Thurmont. When the opportunity
arose to get an original Thurmont trolley from
a Pennsylvania trolley museum in late 2005, he
arranged for around $10,000 in equipment and
labor to get the old baggage car to town.
Since then, not much has been done with it
because of a lack of funds and the need to
This grant, however, changes that. The
money will pay for a final coat of paint, a
new roof on the trolley, new windows, door
repairs, wheels and tracks for the trolley.
Then when the town decommissions the electric
substation, as the town commissioners have
discussed, Kinnaird will seek to finish his
“My long-term plan is to incorporate it
with the building and make it the visitor
center for Thurmont,” Kinnaird said.
He said the electric substation is just the
right size for a visitors’ center and once the
equipment is removed from behind the building,
there would be plenty of room for parking. For
its part, the trolley would house displays or
videos about the town.
The trolley path project had already
received one $25,000 grant from the state.
That was enough to create a usable walking
path on the old Thurmont trolley right of way.
“This one’s been easier,” said Thurmont
Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder, who
applied for the grant and will manage it.
“Last year was our first breakthrough and we
didn’t know what to expect. This time we were
renewing the grant, so we had a lot of what we
Shirley Long, who has been managing the
project for the Lions Club, said, “This grant
will allow us to do some of the extras we
really hope to do. It gives us a chance to
dress up the trail a bit.”
The money will pay for lighting along the
trail, benches and exercise stations.
Thurmont received two out of three
Community Legacy grants for which it applied,
and in the full amounts requested. These
grants were two of 73 projects from 43
municipalities across the state that received
funding, announced by Gov. Martin O’Malley on
March 13. Local officials applied for $133
million, but only $7 million received funding.
“Even to walk away from there with $5,000
would have been a win for Thurmont,” Grinder
said. “We’re ecstatic about it.”
She said that Thurmont getting its name
before decision makers in a positive way will
only help the town. If officials start to
remember Thurmont, then they will likely think
favorably about it when the time comes to make
“I really believe it makes a difference and
helps us,” Grinder said.
The Maryland Department of Housing and
Community Development awards the Community
Legacy grants, funding local economic
development activities to help strengthen