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Gateway to the Mountains

George Wireman

Chapter 38:  Industry Today

In Thurmont and surrounding areas, there is about one acre of industrial land for every fifteen acres of residential land. Of these acres, about 40 per cent are devoted to heavy industry and the remainder is devoted to light industry uses. Industrial land is concentrated along the railroad and at the east end of the community. The municipal electric, sewerage and water systems are adjacent to over 200 acres of industrial land available in Thurmont.

The town officials, businessmen of the community, service clubs. and the local banking institution have always been very receptive to new industry desiring to locate here and have been very helpful in promoting a healthy atmosphere in getting the industry established.

The following industries located in the community provide substantial employment and labor problems are few:

Moore Business Forms, Inc.

Thurmont is indeed very fortunate to have as a part of its industrial make-up, a plant of the world's largest manufacturer of business forms. The Thurmont plant of Moore Business Forms, Inc., was the first Eastern Division plant to be established outside of New York State. Located on Apple's Church Road, the plant was constructed in the fall of 1950. Manufacturing operations began in December 1950 with ten employees and one press. In the years that followed the plant has been enlarged four times and employment has grown to over 350 people.

In keeping up with old and new customer demands for a top-quality product, the Thurmont plant established the beginning of the Eastern Division's steady growth in plant facilities.

The establishment of the first new plant at Thurmont, proved the soundness of locating manufacturing facilities in areas strategically close to Moore's many large Eastern markets. This policy was established early in 1959 at a meeting of Sales, Production and Financial executives. Until that time, all Eastern Division manufacturing facilities were located at Niagara Falls and Elmira, New York.

In deciding upon the establishment of this first area plant, scores of possible locations were considered before the Thurmont site was picked. In addition to closeness to markets for Moore products, Thurmont was selected because of the proximity of good railroad and truck line facilities as well as the availability of an adequate supply of labor, power and water.

The original plant, approximately 31,000 square feet in size, began operation with one press in December of 1950. In 1951 and 1952, additional presses were installed and the local plant began coating the carbon paper which it uses in the products it manufactures.

By 1953 production reached such a point that plans were made for a 30,000 square foot addition. This addition, adjoining the east wall of the plant was completed in 1954, doubling the amount of floor space.

Additional press equipment was installed during the next four years and an addition to the plant was built in 1957. At the end of 1957 employment had increased to 164 and the production volume was nearly fifteen times that of the first full year of operation.

Product growth and diversification, coupled with more equipment, led to the third addition, totaling 10,000 square feet, in 1961.

To meet the extremely close manufacturing tolerances required in forms used by modern business and industry, the plant was air conditioned in 1962. The annual production volume had increased by more than 60% over that of 1957.

In the years that followed, the Thurmont plant had a steady growth in production and employees. Production volume increased by more than 6% in 1963 and by approximately 10% more in 1964. At the beginning of 1964, there were 214 employees. By September 1965 the Moore team at Thurmont had grown to 255. In 1965 another addition of 35,000 square feet was added to pro-vide space for additional manufacturing equipment.

Today, seventeen years after the original plant was constructed, the local plant has 106,000 square feet of floor space, 350 employees representing an annual payroll of $1,900,000. The Thurmont plant today represents a total investment by the Moore Corporation exceeding $3,400,000.

Business forms manufactured at Thurmont are universally used by all types of businesses. As a result, the Thurmont plant produces business forms for organizations of all sizes from a one-man operation to those comprising the largest industrial corporations.

The Moore plant at Thurmont has enjoyed a steady growth since it was first established in 1950. Its contributions have added much to the Eastern Division, to the Moore Corporation, and to the economy of Thurmont as well as to the eastern seaboard area which it serves. The record of its growth reflects the continually increasing demand for the total value products for which Moore Business Forms, Inc. has become known over the years, in producing "the right business form, for every form of business."

Claire Frock Company, Inc.

The Claire Frock Company was established in Thurmont in 1936 by A. Jules Bernstein of York, Penn. When operations began, the company had thirty employees and the plant was located on East Main Street at the corner of Carroll Street. The plant was greatly enlarged in 1948 and was equipped with the most modern cutting and pressing machinery and included a complete shipping department. In 1947 the firm was incorporated and many improvements were made to their manufacturing facilities.

Several years ago the plant facilities were moved into a completely new and modern plant just east of the Moore Business Forms plant.

The Claire Frock Company manufactures garments which are sold throughout the United States and Europe and since its establishment in Thurmont in 1936, it has enjoyed a steady growth and provided substantial employment for the community.

Thurmont Shoe Company

The Thurmont Shoe Company began its operations in the community in 1944 under the name of Cannon Shoe Company. In 1945 a new and modern shoe factory was built on Apple's Church Road and the facilities, which were originally established in a storeroom on Church Street, were moved to the new location. There are approximately 200 persons employed by the Thurmont Shoe Company which produces some of the finest footwear made. The finished product is shipped to Baltimore where it is distributed to more than 100 stores throughout the country.

Creager Flower Shop

Creager's Flower Shop is one of the oldest industries in Thurmont. It was begun in the early 1870's by Chambers Creager who raised not only flowers but also a wide variety of vegetable plants. His son took over the business and the present owner, Allen Creager, is the grandson of the founder. Mr. Creager specializes in cut flowers, bedding and potted plants and also raises many thousands of vegetable plants.

Hillside Turkey Farm

The turkey industry in Thurmont had its beginning as early as 1937 when Ross V. Smith and Samuel T. Royer, Jr., organized and established the Hillside Turkey Farms. From a small beginning, this firm has increased until today over 5,000 poults are hatched weekly. The firm reserves a portion of these for breeders and the rest are raised for market. There are other producers in the community, but on a smaller scale. It is believed that the total turkey production in the Thurmont area reaches over 30,000 annually.

The Goldfish Industry

The goldfish industry began in the early 1870's near Lewistown and developed rapidly. By 1920 Frederick County was producing 80% of the goldfish used in the United States, and they were being shipped from Thurmont to all parts of the country. The industry was centered between Thurmont and Lewistown. Over-production with sagging prices caused many producers to go out of business. Two of the most famous local producers of goldfish were Maurice J. Albaugh and Frederick Tresselt. Today the business is operated by Mr. Tresselt's son, Ernest.

Thurmont Cleaners

In 1948 William Specht established a cleaning plant on West Main Street which was later taken over by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Stride. As the business services grew and increased, the Strides erected a new and modern building on Apple's Church Road. To-day this firm serves the area with a fleet of trucks and does an excellent job in taking care of the community's cleaning needs.

Thurmont Upholstering Store

In March 1938 James Black established a small upholstering business in a storeroom on Church Street. As the business grew it became necessary to seek larger quarters, so a plot of ground was purchased on East Main Street and a new building was erected. To-day this business is well established and growing with the community.

Farm Equipment Center

This firm began operations in 1945 under the proprietorship of Robert K. Remsburg. A complete line of farming machinery and repairs, together with a large farm shop provides a much needed service for the farmers in the area. A complete line of household appliances are also carried by the Farm Equipment Center which has served the community well for over twenty-five years.

The Fruit Industry

Thurmont is fortunate in having some of the finest orchards in the county located in the immediate area. Extensive peach and apple orchards are found all along the foothills of the mountains. The blossoms are a pleasing and beautiful sight in the spring time and their fruit is eagerly sought after in the summer and fall months.

The Hoke Furniture Company

The Hoke Wood Products Company was organized in 1946 by Lloyd Hoke. The old furniture factory located on East Main Street was purchased and new and up-to-date machinery added. Later the name was changed to the Hoke Furniture Company. Today this company manufactures a large variety of furniture and has be-come outstanding in its field.

Late's Meat Market

Many years ago, George F. Late and his son Howard began a meat market in the old Osier Building. Upon the death of his father, Howard continued the business and added many new operations over the years. Today the business is operated by George Late, a grandson of the original owner. The business is modern and complete, serving both wholesale and retail trade, and it has become one of the largest abattoirs in Western Maryland.

Beall's Express

Probably one of the best known trucking firms in the area is Beall's Express. This local firm has been serving the community for over 43 years and was begun back in 1924 by Otto Beall. The business started out with only a one and one-half ton truck and a used one at that. Today the business consists of 34 pieces of equipment and besides the local terminal, operates terminals in Baltimore, Maryland and York, Pennsylvania. This trucking firm has served the community well in 43 years and today is under the management of Charles Beall, son of the founder.

Other Industries

There are many other industries that serve the community and help to provide jobs for the local citizens. These include:

  • Grove Lime Company: Redi-Mix Concrete
  • Ridge Pike Homes:  Redi-Cut Homes
  • Smith Lumber Company:  Lumber & Pallets
  • Federal Stone Corp.:  Swimming Pool Tile
  • Thomas-Bennett-Hunter:  Concrete Blocks
  • Thurmont Belt & Novelty Co: . Belts and Novelties
  • Thurmont Cooperative, Inc.:  Feed
  • Furniture Specialties Co.:  Beautician Equipment

As time passes more firms will be added to this list for Thurmont is a progressive town and refuses to stand still.

Early in 1968, Americas Venom Laboratories, Inc., established a "poison plant" at Jungleland Snake Farm near Thurmont. Previously, only two such laboratories of this type existed in the United States Miami and Silver Springs both in Florida. About 95% of the New World's pure venom is produced by the Miami Serpentarium and the Ross Allen Reptile Institute.

This new laboratory is headed by Joseph Kilmon, Sr., and the new facilities are a result of a life-long ambition to have his own venom lab and an active interest in poisonous animals. Daniel Lyons a Baltimore cinematographer, and Richard Hahn, a partner of Jungleland, are directors of the firm, in which Jungleland holds an interest.

In addition to poisonous snakes, the lab will be extracting venom, from such diversified life forms as bees, shrews, poison arrow frogs. stonefish, scorpions, tarantulas, black widow spiders, giant African centipedes, sea grenomes and others. It is Mr. Kilmon's hope to eventually house the largest collection of poisonous animals in the United States at Jungleland.

Chapter Index | Chapter 39: Outstanding Points of Interest

If you have any Information or historical news clippings on events in the Thurmont Area, Please send them to us so we can included them in our archives. E-mail us at: history@mythurmont.net