Historical Figure: George W. Wireman
The son of George Wireman, Sr and Nellie Wireman. George graduated from Thurmont High School in 1939 then attended Hagerstown Business College in 1939 and 1940, studying accounting and business; he would catch the train every morning in Thurmont and then again every evening after school in Hagerstown. He married Charlotte Reifsnider in 1946 and remained her partner until her death in 1999.
Wireman’s first job was at Thurmont Bank, and he worked for many years at Moore Business Forms before retiring in 1985. In retirement he helped at the Cozy Restaurant, hosted a Saturday morning radio show on WTHU in Thurmont for three decades, and contributed articles to both the Catoctin Enterprise and Catoctin Banner, including his “This and That” feature that ran for years.
His love and enthusiasm for his hometown were infectious. Wireman was considered the amateur historian of Thurmont. He researched and wrote the book Gateway to the Mountains, which was published in 1969. George also spent many years during retirement volunteering for several organizations. In 1989, he received an award for 50 years of outstanding community service.
George Jr. was a long-time lover of trains, an interest he credits to his dad because the older Wireman worked for the Western Maryland Railroad. For 14 years he served as Chief (volunteer) Conductor for tourists riding the Walkersville Southern Railroad. In his home, he created an elaborate model train display called the “Monocacy Valley,” which was named after the railroad of the same name, a steam engine that ran from Frederick to Thurmont and was a branch of the Washington-Frederick-Gettysburg Railway. The train set and village occupied nearly his entire basement and included a Catoctin Mountain replica as well as miniature buildings and signs celebrating businesses in the community. He welcomed visitors every December who were interested in watching his trains operate. Ironically, for a man who loved transportation, he never held a driver’s license or drove a car.