A Sykesville couple recently sold two historic buildings they had owned for more than 30 years.
Bruce and Linda Greenberg had owned the Greenberg Building, originally “The Arcade Building,” for almost 32 years and the Firehouse since 1984.
The couple purchased the Firehouse, at 7543 Main St., to house their growing businesses, Greenberg’s Publishing and Greenberg’s Great Train Shows.
The Greenberg Building, at 7566 Main St., was sold to Fred and Mark Gossage on April 1. The Firehouse was sold two weeks later to Sykesville attorneys Robin Weisse and Karen Miller.
The Firehouse is now being used as modern offices.
Bruce said he developed a love for trains at a young age that evolved into his business.
“I had a wonderful childhood with the Lionel trains,” he said. “I enjoyed them immensely. From the toy trains, I learned how to cut wood, put screws in and even wires things. It was a passion up until I was 12 or 11 years of age.”
While in graduate school, studying political science, Bruce saw an ad for some toy trains in a newspaper. So Linda and Bruce went to visit a man that had a basement full of trains that were similar to the one he had as a child. This made him start to acquire trains again and even began studying trains while in school.
A friend of Bruce showed him some classic Lionel catalogs and thought other train enthusiasts might enjoy them.
“I said, ‘I wonder if there are other collectors who would love to have a copy,’” Bruce said. “The college had very low cost production. I made copies and then I advertised them and they sold rapidly — two dollars each.”
This eventually led to Bruce’s publishing company.
The couple were originally operating their business from home, but once that became impractical they moved into the Firehouse.
It was in the Firehouse that the couple also started train shows, where people could buy and sell trains. The train shows quickly took off.
Eventually, their businesses outgrew the Firehouse, so the couple bought The Arcade Building in 1987, according to their news release.
The Greenbergs rented the Firehouse to various businesses after moving on to The Arcade Building. Tenants ranged from a daycare center to the Maryland fire marshal’s regional office.
In 1996, the couple wrote a book on Lionel trains — and then another in 2007. Bruce couldn’t continue to write because of the high demand of managing the buildings. In 2012 he decided to get back into writing and wrote another book, “O Gauge Volume 1: 1915-1928.”
It is because of his passion for writing that Bruce decided to sell the buildings, he said.
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“I enjoyed the many cross pressures from taking care of 15 tenants in the building while at the same time working on the book,” Bruce said. “This year, I want to work on another book. I just can’t do the other book, which really I enjoy, and the book would be of great help to people because it would explain in more detail, Lionel trains and people who are collectors really understand their trains better. But I couldn’t do that and take care of the buildings; it’s just too much.”