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Historic Laurel, MD History
With thanx to Wikipedia for the history supplied in this page.

Laurel, Maryland was formed from land on the fall line of the Patuxent River owned by the Snowden family, which also owned Montpelier. A grist mill on the site circa 1811 grew to a small cotton mill by the 1820s. In 1835, coinciding with the opening of the rail line from Baltimore to Washington, the Patuxent Manufacturing Company was chartered and the mill expanded greatly. Mill president Horace Capron with his partners built housing for close to 300 workers, and a bigger cotton mill. Cotton duck from the mill was shipped down what would become Laurel’s Main Street then by rail to Baltimore. A substantial dam was built in 1850. As a mill town Laurel was somewhat unique in Prince George’s County, and was surrounded by agricultural endeavors.

The community was originally known as Laurel Factory, and was a true company town, with a school, and shops, and many of the mill workers' homes owned until the 1860s by the company. During the 1840s three historic churches in the community: the Methodist, St. Mary of the Mills (Roman Catholic), and St. Philip's (Episcopal) established what are still-vigorous congregations. During the Civil War, Laurel Factory, like much of Maryland, was a divided community, but with many Southern sympathizers. Union soldiers patrolled the railroad, and for a time there was also a Union hospital. During the latter half of the 19th Century, while it still operated its factories, manufacturing played a less important role in the community. Laurel evolved into an early suburban town. Many of its residents commuted by rail to jobs in Washington or Baltimore. The town was incorporated in 1870 and reincorporated in 1890 to coincide with a new electric power plant and paved streets.

Citizens National Bank opened its doors on Main Street in 1890 as Prince George's County's first nationally chartered bank, and remained independently managed and with the same name until acquired by PNC Financial Services in 2007. Branch services are still provided from the original building.

In 1899, Laurel's seven-time mayor Edward Phelps succeeded in constructing the first high school in Prince George's County, despite several financial obstacles. The original building, now known as the Phelps Community Center, still stands at the northeast corner of Montgomery and Eighth Streets.

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