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Bringing Laurel memorabilia to life through social media [Old Town Laurel]

If names like Polan's Five and Dime, Keller's Newsstand, Dougherty's Pharmacy and Graville's stir up pleasant memories for you, no doubt you have been around this town for some time. While all of these retailers now exist only in our mind's eye, most of the storefronts that housed these businesses and countless others still stand.

The space that housed Polan's (most recently home of the former Laurel Art Center) sits vacant but now has a buyer. Keller's was razed and a new multi-level building put in its place. Dougherty's along with the office space next to it have been transformed into Rainbow Florist. Graville's, once a busy lunch counter and meeting place and a store that offered a variety of items, is currently occupied by folks working with a local cable provider.

Richard Friend is by trade a graphic designer. The former resident lived in Steward Manor Apartments, and grew up here in the '70s and '80s. If you are a user of social media, you may have come across his web page devoted to what he calls Lost Laurel.

Speaking of the former retailers and shop owners, Friend explained his site this way, "Lost Laurel is a place to revisit them all — as well as those from decades earlier — in the form of photos, logos, ads, matchbooks, vintage price tags, shopping bags, menus and more."

Now working on a book to showcase his collection, he went on to say, "The project began in October 2011, when I started a blog and Facebook page called Lost Laurel — where I posted images representing the countless stores, restaurants, movie theaters and other retailers that I recalled from my childhood in the late 1970s and '80s. Some were national chains like Zayre and Woolworth's; others were one-of-a-kind mom and pop shops like Delaney's Irish Pizza Pub and Keller's/Knapp's."

If you share Richard's passion for "the way we were," and you enjoy taking an occasional trip down memory lane, you can check out his Lost Laurel page on Facebook, or follow him on his blog at lostlaurel.wordpress.com. Further details about his upcoming book will also be posted on the sites.

Laurel Friendship Club will hold a craft show on Sat., Oct. 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center, 7120 Contee Road. Eight-foot table space is available to vendors for $20. All manner of handmade crafts and jewelry will be available for purchase. Baked goods and a snack bar will also be available. Interested? Call Betty Mannas, 301-953-2503, to reserve a space, or get more details.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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