For 94 years, model railroad fans have trekked to North Gay and Saratoga streets to purchase equipment and supplies at M.B. Klein for their own miniature basement versions of the Baltimore & Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Haven & Hartford and Santa Fe railroads - or any other line, large or small, that catches their modeling fancy.
And now, the 19th- century, two-story brick building that dispensed such merriment and pleasure for decades is shuttered while waiting for the wrecking cranes of developer Richard W. Naing to show up and clear the site for a 40- to 60-story building he plans to build there.
So where did Klein's go?
"We've moved to a 10,000-square-foot building with 1,400 square feet of retail space at Cockeysville and Beaver Dam roads, and all of our 20 employees came with us," said Ted Klein, 71, longtime owner and son of the founder of the business that is celebrating its grand reopening this weekend with a sale.
This is the store's third location since first opening its doors to hobbyists at 206 N. Gay St. The original site was demolished to make way for the Jones Falls Expressway in 1966.
"I thought about closing the business and then wondered what I'd do with myself. I also knew that my customers wouldn't be happy," he said.