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The Snyders return to home sweet home in Laurel | OLD TOWN

Gayle and Fred Snyder have moved three times in the last 10 years, but they should have no trouble getting settled into their new historic district home. After all, it is the same as their old one.

The longtime community anchors, who moved in 2011 to enjoy retirement in tax-friendly Delaware, are back in Laurel and back in the Old Town house that has been a part of their family for a century.

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“It’s so nice to be back in my hometown,” Gayle Snyder said. “I just feel like it’s where I belong.”

Snyder is a member of the long-established Wellford family, which has an Old Town alley named for them. Her grandfather bought the house at 507 Prince George St., which dates to 1890, in either 1908 or 1915. Since then, it has been home to four generations of Wellfords. Gayle Snyder grew up there. She and her husband bought the house from her siblings after her mother died.

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The couple, who have two sons and eight grandchildren, were looking forward to a peaceful retirement in Delaware when they sold the house in 2010. But Delaware ultimately could not compete with the deep community ties and friendships that Laurel offered.

“I knew the second day there that it was a mistake,” Snyder said.

Gayle Snyder had served on the Laurel City Council for three terms, including a stint as president. She was a constant presence in the community and was the driving force behind annual city events like the dog show and bike parade. Fred Snyder had a long tenure as Laurel postmaster. Her brother, Bill Wellford, lived just a few doors down and cousins, nieces, and nephews were all close by.

“You’ll be back,” Laurel Mayor Craig Moe told Snyder when the couple left in 2011.

And so - after three years in Delaware and then six years in Frederick - they are.

The Snyders learned earlier this year that the house was being rented and decided to contact the owners and see if they would be interested in selling the house back to them. They were.

“It didn’t take long to get acclimated because I’m just used to everything,” Snyder said.

The charming home, recognized by its trademark pineapple cutouts along the front gate, had two additions built when Snyder was growing up. The same radiators are still there. The bakery that had occupied the building behind the home during Snyder’s childhood gave way to a coffee shop and now the restaurant Olive on Main.

The Snyders are busy working on a few projects in the house, including converting a small bedroom into a walk-in closet. Gayle Snyder said the prospect of getting involved in community affairs in Laurel again is attractive.

“It’s just a part of my life here that I enjoyed very much,” she said. “I wouldn’t mind getting involved again.”

The pandemic and uncertainty that have marked this year makes family and community ties all the more important, Snyder said.

“The first day back it was the most wonderful day,” she said. It was unseasonably warm and so the couple decided to work in the yard. “The whole day people were stopping by, standing at the fence and just talking. It was just wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”

Fred and Gayle Snyder live in this Laurel home that has been in Gayle's family for three generations. They moved here from a larger home, in Howard Co., after their children moved out and have set about remodeling it ever since.
Fred and Gayle Snyder live in this Laurel home that has been in Gayle's family for three generations. They moved here from a larger home, in Howard Co., after their children moved out and have set about remodeling it ever since. (Gene Sweeney Jr. / XX)

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