Laurel History Boys are masters of the past [Old Town Laurel]

Are you a fan of Lost Laurel, be it in book form, social media posts or on display at our local museum? If so you will revel in a new endeavor by its founder, Richard Friend, joined by the Laurel Leader History Matters columnist Kevin Leonard and collector of all things Laurel, Pete Lewnes. The trio bill themselves as the Laurel History Boys.

Richard Friend needs no introduction. His efforts allowed enthusiasts of Laurel to revisit and remember our past, not only for this generation, but for those who came before us. Friend's recent post via the group's new website explained his effort. He said Lost Laurel began for "maybe a handful of my oldest friends who might take an interest in the towns past." In a recent post on the website he went on to say this new project "gives me the chance to explore some of the broader themes I've been looking into from Laurel's past — subjects and stories that go beyond the nostalgic businesses from years ago."

Kevin Leonard, a graduate of Laurel High, is no stranger to Old Town. If you are a lover of local history, you know his finely researched columns that periodically appear in the Leader unmask the story behind the story. His words will lead you into the intertwining of local lore, and may even debunk some hometown legends and myths, in an effort to set the record straight and prove that, as his tagline states, "History Matters."

The new website will allow you to revisit stories of old, including the attempt on then-Alabama Gov. George Wallace's life, while campaigning for president in Laurel in 1972; and the robbery of Citizens National Bank on Main Street, circa 1911.

Pete Lewnes has a story all his own. It was by happenstance that the then-Lanham resident found his way to a local car dealership, Mid-City Chevrolet, in 1972 to purchase his first vehicle. On the group's website he said that "while driving back home to Lanham that day, something about this small town left me with a feeling that I had never had." He returned to the area in 1986. Not long after that, he met and married the love of his life, Martha. The couple has scoured yard sales, perused eBay, and attended sales a good distance from Laurel, all in search of treasured memorabilia. Lewnes went on to say "since then we have amassed a huge collection of artifacts and collectibles," all in an effort to preserve the history of his adopted hometown.

I'm looking forward to what else these guys have in store for us.

On Sunday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Laurel Pet Value in the Towne Centre at Laurel, 14712 Baltimore Ave., will host Santa for photo opportunities with your youngsters and their pet of choice. Proceeds will benefit Laurel Cats. Two photos with a frame are $10. There will be pet treats and stocking stuffers for sale as well.

Merry Christmas!

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