Laurel, Maryland

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Laurel, Maryland
City of Laurel
The Laurel Museum in May 2007
Laurel md flag.png
Laurel md seal.jpg
Coat of arms
"Progressio Per Populum"
(English: Progress Through People)
Prince George's County Maryland Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Laurel Highlighted.svg
Location of Laurel in Prince George's County and Maryland
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Location within the U.S. state of Maryland
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Laurel (the United States)
Coordinates: 39°5′45″N76°51′35″W / 39.09583°N 76.85972°W / 39.09583; -76.85972 Coordinates: 39°5′45″N76°51′35″W / 39.09583°N 76.85972°W / 39.09583; -76.85972
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
State Flag of Maryland.svg  Maryland
County Flag of Prince George's County, Maryland.svg Prince George's
Incorporated 1870
   Mayor Craig A. Moe (2002–present)
   City Council [1] Ward 1: Valerie M. A. Nicholas

Ward 1: Carl DeWalt
Ward 2: Frederick Smalls
Ward 2: Keith R. Sydnor

At Large: Michael R. Leszcz


  Total4.84 sq mi (12.53 km2)
  Land4.82 sq mi (12.47 km2)
  Water0.02 sq mi (0.06 km2)
164 ft (50 m)
 (2010) [3]
(2017) [4]
  Density5,380.27/sq mi (2,077.39/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
20707–20709, 20725–20726
Area code(s) 240, 301
FIPS code24-45900
GNIS feature ID0597667

Laurel is a city in Maryland, located almost midway between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore on the banks of the Patuxent River. While the city limits are entirely in northern Prince George's County, outlying developments extend into Anne Arundel County and Howard County. [5] Founded as a mill town in the early 19th century, the arrival of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1835 expanded local industry and later enabled the city to become an early commuter town for Washington and Baltimore workers. Largely residential today, the city maintains a historic district centered on its Main Street, highlighting its industrial past.

City Large and permanent human settlement

A city is a large human settlement. Cities generally have extensive systems for housing, transportation, sanitation, utilities, land use, and communication. Their density facilitates interaction between people, government organizations and businesses, sometimes benefiting different parties in the process.

Maryland State of the United States of America

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary.

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first President of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

The Department of Defense is a prominent presence in the Laurel area today, with the Fort Meade Army base, the National Security Agency, and Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory all located nearby. Laurel Park, a thoroughbred horse racetrack, is located just outside city limits.

Fort George G. Meade United States Army installation

Fort George G. Meade is a United States Army installation located in Maryland, that includes the Defense Information School, the Defense Media Activity, the United States Army Field Band, and the headquarters of United States Cyber Command, the National Security Agency, the Defense Courier Service, Defense Information Systems Agency headquarters and the U.S. Navy's Cryptologic Warfare Group Six. It is named for George G. Meade, a general from the U.S. Civil War, who served as commander of the Army of the Potomac. The fort's smaller census-designated place includes support facilities such as schools, housing, and the offices of the Military Intelligence Civilian Excepted Career Program (MICECP).

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

National Security Agency U.S. signals intelligence organization

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign and domestic intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, specializing in a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). The NSA is also tasked with the protection of U.S. communications networks and information systems. The NSA relies on a variety of measures to accomplish its mission, the majority of which are clandestine.


Natural history

Many dinosaur fossils from the Cretaceous Era are preserved in a 7.5-acre (3.0 ha) park in Laurel. [6] The site, which among other finds has yielded fossilized teeth from Astrodon and Priconodon species, has been called the most prolific in the eastern United States. [7] From the Late Glacial age in 10,700 B.C. to 8,500 B.C., Laurel's climate warmed and changed from a spruce forest to a hardwood forest. In the Late Archaic period from 4,000 to 1,000 B.C., Laurel would have been covered primarily with an oak and hickory forest. [8]

Dinosaur Superorder of reptiles (fossil)

Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic period, between 243 and 233.23 million years ago, although the exact origin and timing of the evolution of dinosaurs is the subject of active research. They became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates after the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event 201 million years ago; their dominance continued through the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Reverse genetic engineering and the fossil record both demonstrate that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier theropods during the late Jurassic Period. As such, birds were the only dinosaur lineage to survive the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago. Dinosaurs can therefore be divided into avian dinosaurs, or birds; and non-avian dinosaurs, which are all dinosaurs other than birds. This article deals primarily with non-avian dinosaurs.

The Cretaceous is a geologic period and system that spans 79 million years from the end of the Jurassic Period 145 million years ago (mya) to the beginning of the Paleogene Period 66 mya. It is the last period of the Mesozoic Era, and the longest period of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Cretaceous Period is usually abbreviated K, for its German translation Kreide.

Dinosaur Park is a park located in the 13200 block of Mid-Atlantic Boulevard, near Laurel and Muirkirk, Maryland, and operated by the Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation. The park features a fenced area where visitors can join paleontologists and volunteers in searching for early Cretaceous fossils. The park also has an interpretive garden with plants and information signs. The park is in the approximate location of discoveries of Astrodon teeth and bones as early as the 19th century.

Pre-20th century

Laurel was formed from land on the fall line of the Patuxent River patented by the Snowden family in 1658 as part of the 12,250-acre New Birmingham plantation, which included the later Montpelier. [9] The Washington Turnpike Road Company built Route 1 between 1796 and 1812, creating a major North-South land route. Milstead's Hotel halfway house was built in town to serve four stage lines a day in 1816. [10] [11] Nicholas Snowden built a grist mill on the site circa 1811 which grew to a small cotton mill by the 1820s. [12] In 1828, a detailed survey was conducted to build a canal from Baltimore to Georgetown to connect to the proposed C&O canal. The route from Elkridge Landing to Bladensburg would have built a waterway roughly aligning with modern U.S. Route 1 and Kenilworth Avenue, with special consideration not to harm the water power for Savage Mill. The project did not go forward; the preference was to build a railroad, the B&O. [13] Nicholas Snowden died in 1831, and the mill properties transferred to Louisa Snowden and her husband Horace Capon in 1834. In 1835, coinciding with the opening of the Capital Subdivision rail line from Baltimore to Washington, the Patuxent Manufacturing Company was chartered by Horace Capon, Edward Snowden, Theodore Jenkins, W.C. Shaw, A.E. Hall, and O.C. Tiffany and the mill expanded greatly with the addition of the Avondale Mill building in 1844. [14] Mill president Horace Capron with his partners built housing for close to 300 workers, and a bigger cotton mill. [15] Cotton duck from the mill was shipped down what would become Laurel's Main Street, then by rail to Baltimore. [16] A substantial dam was built in 1850. [17] As a mill town, Laurel was somewhat unusual in Prince George's County and was surrounded by agricultural endeavors. [15]

Atlantic Seaboard fall line escarpment in the Eastern United States

The Atlantic Seaboard Fall Line, or Fall Zone, is a 900-mile (1,400 km) escarpment where the Piedmont and Atlantic coastal plain meet in the eastern United States. Much of the Atlantic Seaboard fall line passes through areas where no evidence of faulting is present.

Patuxent River river in Maryland, USA

The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River to the west passing through Washington, D.C., the Patapsco River to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between the two. The 908-square-mile (2,352 km2) Patuxent watershed had a rapidly growing population of 590,769 in 2000. It is the largest and longest river entirely within Maryland, and its watershed is the largest completely within the state.

Richard Snowden (1688–1763) was the grandson of Richard Snowden Sr (1640–1711), one of Maryland's early colonists, who arrived in 1658. By Articles of Agreement dated July 5, 1705, Snowden and four other partners – Joseph Cowman, Edmund Jenings, John Galloway, and John Prichard – founded the Patuxent Iron Works on the site of Maryland's oldest iron forge. Together they founded one of Maryland's first industries, and settled the land now known as Laurel and Sandy Spring, Maryland.

The community was originally known as "Laurel Factory" when Edward Snowden became the first postmaster in 1837 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. [15] During the 1840s, three historic churches in the community—the Methodist Est. 1842, [18] St. Mary of the Mills (Roman Catholic) Est. 1845, [12] and St. Philip's (Episcopal) Est. 1839 [19] —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 and boarded sidewalks. By this time, the town had grown to a population of 2,080, and the city banned livestock from the streets. [20]

First United Methodist Church (Laurel, Maryland) church in Laurel, Maryland, United States

The First United Methodist Church of Laurel is a member of the Baltimore/Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. It is located on Main Street in the historic district of Laurel, Maryland. The church serves primarily the Laurel area including the city of Laurel, northern Prince George's County, western Anne Arundel County, south eastern Howard County and eastern Montgomery County. The Rev. Dr. Ramon E. McDonald, II has served the church as its Senior Pastor since July 2012.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Electric power the rate per unit of time at which electrical energy is transferred by an electric circuit

Electric power is the rate, per unit time, at which electrical energy is transferred by an electric circuit. The SI unit of power is the watt, one joule per second.

In 1870, the Patuxent Bank of Laurel was founded on the corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue. [21] In 1874 a delegation was sent to Annapolis to introduce legislation to make Laurel its own county of 10,000 residents with land from Prince George's, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties. [22] In 1879 Laurel Academy of Music was built along Route 1. The building was converted to a movie theatre in 1915, with a parking garage on the lower floor of the wood structure; it burned in 1917, and Academy Ford built on the same site in the late 20th century. [23] In 1888 inventor David J. Weems tested an unmanned electric train on a two-mile banked circular track near Laurel Station. The three-ton vehicle reached speeds of up to 120 mph for twenty minutes. [24] [25]

In 1890, Citizens National Bank opened its doors on Main Street, as Prince George's County's first nationally chartered bank. Charles H. Stanley was the bank's first president, and it remained independently managed and with the same name until acquired by PNC Financial Services in 2007. [26] [27] [28] Branch services are still provided from the original building.

At the turn of the century, Louis Barret operated a hotel called the "Half Way House", later called the Milstead Hotel, which served as a stop for the four stage lines operating between Baltimore and Washington. In 1898, a stable fire spread to the 100-year-old hotel and burned adjacent buildings along Main Street. With only bucket brigades, Mayor Phelps telegraphed Baltimore to send a special train with fireman, horses, and engine number 10. One fireman was crushed by the rolling fire engine, and returned in a casket saved from the burning mortuary. The resulting losses inspired efforts to bring water and fire apparatus to the town. [29] [30] The town was struck again by the great Laurel fire of December 14, 1899, when a twelve-building fire destroyed the Laurel Presbyterian Church (known then as Presbyterian Church at Laurel). [31]

Proposed in 1897, Laurel's seven-term mayor Edward Phelps succeeded in constructing the first high school in Prince George's County in 1899, despite several financial obstacles, by personally assuming the financial risks in doing so. The original building built for $5,000, now known as the Phelps Community Center, still stands at the northeast corner of Montgomery and Eighth Streets. [32] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. [33]

20th century

In 1902, the City and Suburban Railway with the City and Suburban and Washington, Berwyn, and Laurel railway started single line electric trolley service. [34]

A head-on train wreck in Laurel, July 31, 1922 Train Wreck 1922.jpg
A head-on train wreck in Laurel, July 31, 1922

The Laurel Sanitarium was built in 1905 on a 163-acre (0.66 km2) farm that comprised what is now Laurel Lakes. The facility's purpose was to care for people with nervous diseases, alcohol, and drug addiction. Five buildings that were joined to a central administration building included 8-, 14-, 30-, and 36-room facilities for men and women. [35]

Laurel Park Racecourse, a thoroughbred racetrack, opened in 1911 and remains in operation. In the book, Seabiscuit: An American Legend , Laurel is mentioned several times as an important horse racing venue. Laurel also hosted a horse trotter (harness racing) track named Freestate Raceway from 1948 to 1990; [36] [37] it was located in Howard County on the west side of US Route 1, south of Savage in an area that now includes a CarMax dealership, Weis supermarket, and a strip mall.

In March 1912, the city agreed to take out $35,000 in loans to build its first sewer system with twelve miles of line that terminated by dumping into the Patuxent River. [38]

In February 1913, Laurel was a stopping point in the Suffrage hike led by Rosalie Gardiner Jones. She was joined by a Laurel-based colored women's suffrage group and sent a parcel with a flag and message ahead to President-elect Wilson. [39]

Board track racing at Laurel, July 11, 1925 Laurel Board Track Race Jul 11 1925.jpg
Board track racing at Laurel, July 11, 1925

Board track racing came to Laurel in 1925 when a 1.125-mile (1.811 km) wood oval track was built by Jack Prince and featured 48-degree banked turns. The Washington-Baltimore automobile speedway was short-lived, with featured races of 16 drivers at a time. [40] Despite crowds of up to 30,000, receipts did not cover the $400,000 cost of building the track on the 364-acre Avondale property which fell into receivership in 1926. [41]

Natural gas service was extended to the community in 1929. [42]

In 1931, "Angy Gerrin" built a 7,000-seat amphitheater next to the Duvall Farm between Laurel Park and Route One for an outdoor boxing venue. His company, Mid City Boxing Club Inc, held several events with low turnouts and receipts confiscated by local police. It was sold the same year to C.E. Cornell, who called it "Twin Cities Arena" or "Mid City Arena". [43] The arena was active through 1932 with the entire delegation of the National Boxing Association attending a fight with Governor Ritchie in attendance. [44] After watching the match and calling a fight to be halted in five rounds, the delegation announced efforts to drop junior lightweight and junior welterweight classes to discourage matches between young opponents. [45] Operations ceased by the end of the 1933 season in the peak of the depression. [46] [47] [48]

Prohibition in the United States was repealed in 1934. Wasting little time, the Prince Georges Brewing Company planned a $500,000 brewery on 100 acres next to Laurel Park, but did not follow through. [49]

In 1954, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory built its campus west of Laurel in Howard County, using a Laurel address. [50]

By 1960, Laurel anticipated massive growth from Fort Meade and NSA. The town still used the Patuxent River to drain sewage, and filed urban grants for water and sewage infrastructure. 5,000 houses were planned in the adjacent 1,200-acre Maryland City development. City Planner Harry Susini anticipated the National Capitol Planning Commission would use clustered development to prevent tightly massed population in Laurel by the year 2000. [51]

Laurel's Route 1 commercial landmark for over 50 years, a neon Giant Food sign Vintage Giant Food sign.jpg
Laurel's Route 1 commercial landmark for over 50 years, a neon Giant Food sign

In the late 1960s, the county was at the peak of racial tensions. The situation peaked in Laurel in July 1967 when four men and a juvenile, affiliated with the KKK, attempted to burn St. Mark's United Methodist Church and then a private residence in the predominantly African-American neighborhood of the Grove, prompting protests and police blockades. Due to cross-burning incidents, a Ku Klux Klan march, and several arsons and suspected arsons, temporary police barricades were erected throughout late July to prevent white residents from entering the Grove. [52] [53] In August 1967, it was announced that the city would re-purchase a privately owned swimming pool, which had been sold to a private club in 1949. The pool, which had only been available to white residents, was to be operated as an integrated public facility open to all. [54]

On May 15, 1972, Governor George Wallace of Alabama, running for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, was campaigning at a rally in the parking lot of Laurel Shopping Center, near what is today a Bank of America branch, when he was shot and paralyzed by Arthur Bremer, a disturbed, out-of-work janitor (see An Assassin's Diary ).

On June 22, 1972, Laurel was impacted severely by Hurricane Agnes, which caused the greatest flooding ever recorded in Maryland. [55] Several bridges were destroyed and the nearby T. Howard Duckett Dam at Rocky Gorge Reservoir was at capacity and posed a huge threat. [56] In 1975, the city council passed ordinances to create a historic district around Main Street. [57]

In 1982, developer Kingdon Gould III bought 3,539 acres of Laurel property (539 in North Laurel) in two deals for $15 million. The largest parcel lies between Laurel and Beltsville to be developed under the name Konterra, buoyed by access to major highways via the construction of Maryland Route 200. [58] [ full citation needed ]

A former 1840s mill workers' home on the northeast corner of 9th and Main Streets was renovated and opened as the Laurel Museum on May 1, 1996. The museum features exhibits that highlight the history of Laurel and its citizens. A gift shop is available, and museum admission is free. The museum's John Calder Brennan Library is open to researchers by appointment. [59]

21st century

On September 24, 2001, a tornado passed through Laurel and left F3 property damage, including significant roof damage to the Laurel High School and the historic Harrison-Beard building. [60]

Prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks, all five of the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77 (which crashed into the Pentagon) stayed at various motels in the Laurel area, including the Budget Host Valencia and Pin-Del motels in Howard County just north of the city limits. [61] The wing of the Valencia where they stayed was demolished, and a new Sleep Inn was constructed on the ground, which opened in April 2007. They accessed the Internet through public computers at a Kinko's just south of the city limits. They also prepared for the hijacking by working out at a Gold's Gym; a report by FBI Director Mueller states the gym was in Laurel, [62] while other sources list the location as Greenbelt, Maryland, [63] [64] several miles to the south.

On August 29, 2005, Laurel adopted Laurel, Mississippi, as a sister city to help with Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery. [65] In the two years following adoption, "the government, businesses and residents of Laurel, Md. ... raised more than $20,000 for Laurel, Miss." [66]

Historic sites

The following is a list of historic sites in Laurel and vicinity identified by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and / or National Register of Historic Places: [67]

Site nameImageLocationM-NCPPC Inventory NumberComment
1 Avondale Mill (1844–1991) Avondale Mill Site Laurel MD Jan 11.JPG 21 Avondale St.n/aAdded to the National Register of Historic Places, September 20, 1979; destroyed 1991
2 Duvall Bridge Telegraph Road at Patuxent River, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 64-002 Pratt truss bridge built in 1907 in place of a wooden bridge. Linked Dr. Charles Duvall's (1785–1863) mill plantation "Goodwood", later "Gladswood". Was once on the main route for Baltimore-Washington telegraphs. [68]
3 Old Laurel High School (original building) / Phelps Community Center Laurel High School Dec 08.JPG 700 block of Montgomery Stn/aAdded to the National Register of Historic Places, June 27, 1979
4 Laurel Railroad Station Laurel Railroad Station West Side Dec 08.jpg E. Main Stn/aDesigned for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad by architect E. Francis Baldwin, built in 1884. [69] Added to the National Register of Historic Places, March 30, 1973
5 Montpelier Montpellier Maryland 2.jpg 2.1 mi (3.4 km). S of Laurel on MD 197 62-006Added to the National Register of Historic Places, April 17, 1970
6 Oaklands 8314 Contee Road62-003
7 Snow Hill Snow Hill 1936.jpg S of Laurel off MD 197 62-004Added to the National Register of Historic Places, August 13, 1974
8 Snowden Hall Snowden Hall 1989.gif Building 16, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 64-001


Laurel is located at 39°5′45″N76°51′35″W / 39.09583°N 76.85972°W / 39.09583; -76.85972 . The city is situated on the bank of the Patuxent River, which was the power source for the cotton mills that were the early industry of the town.

The ZIP Codes for the incorporated city of Laurel are 20707, 20708, 20709, 20725, and 20756. Additionally, Although served by the Laurel post office, Montpelier is not within the city limits; the same is true for the unincorporated communities of Scaggsville and Whiskey Bottom in Howard County, and Maryland City and Russett in Anne Arundel County. [70] A small section of ZIP Code 20707 is located in Montgomery County, Maryland. [71] [72]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.33 square miles (11.21 km2), of which, 4.30 square miles (11.14 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water. [73]


Typical of central Maryland, Laurel lies within the Humid subtropical climate zone, with hot humid summers and cool to mild winters with high annual precipitation. Laurel lies within USDA plant hardiness zones 7 and 8. [74]

Climate data for Laurel, Maryland
Average high °F (°C)42.4
Average low °F (°C)24.9
Average precipitation inches (mm)3.16
Average snowfall inches (cm)2.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Source: NOAA [75]


Historical population
1870 1,148
1880 1,2065.1%
1890 1,98464.5%
1900 2,0794.8%
1910 2,41516.2%
1920 2,239−7.3%
1930 2,53213.1%
1940 2,82311.5%
1950 4,48258.8%
1960 8,50389.7%
1970 10,52523.8%
1980 12,10315.0%
1990 19,43860.6%
2000 19,9602.7%
2010 25,11525.8%
Est. 201725,906 [4] 3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census [76]

For statistical reporting, the Census Bureau identifies four adjacent unincorporated areas:

2010 census

As of the census [3] of 2010, there were 25,115 people, 10,498 households, and 5,695 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,840.7 inhabitants per square mile (2,255.1/km2). There were 11,397 housing units at an average density of 2,650.5 per square mile (1,023.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 30.1% White, 48.9% African American, 0.4% Native American, 9.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 7.6% from other races, and 3.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.5% of the population.

There were 10,498 households of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.4% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.8% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.19.

The median age in the city was 33.7 years. 22.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 37.2% were from 25 to 44; 23.8% were from 45 to 64; and 7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.

2000 census

As of the census [77] of 2000, there were 19,960 people, 8,931 households, and 4,635 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,280.2 people per square mile (2,038.8/km²). There were 9,506 housing units at an average density of 2,514.7 per square mile (971.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 52.24% White, 34.50% African American, 0.38% Native American, 6.89% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 2.30% from other races, and 3.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.24% of the population.

There were 8,931 households, of which 26.7% have children under the age of 18, 33.9% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.1% were non-families. 37.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.0% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 42.9% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,415, and the median income for a family was $58,552. Males had a median income of $37,966 versus $35,614 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,717. About 4.3% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.8% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.


Laurel Railroad Station Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station (3695955086).jpg
Laurel Railroad Station

Laurel is traversed from north to south by U.S. Route 1 (US 1), which links Key West, Florida with the Canada–US border in Maine. On the west, the city is bordered by Interstate 95, and beyond the eastern border lies the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Crossing all of these highways is the east-west artery of Maryland Route 198 (MD 198), which intersects with US 1 in the heart of Laurel.

Other major state roads in Laurel are MD 216, which connects the city with southern Howard County, and MD 197, which runs from Laurel to Bowie. The eastern terminus of MD 200 (the Intercounty Connector) lies just south of the city limits and connects Laurel with Gaithersburg.

Suburban Airport, a general aviation airport, is located on Brock Bridge Road, just over the Anne Arundel County border. For decades the airport has provided general aviation access for medivac helicopters, flight training, business travelers, and serves as a relief airport for light traffic into and out of the two major regional airports. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are both within about 25 miles (40 km) of Laurel.

Public Transport

Two MARC train stations on the Camden Line to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are located in Laurel: Laurel Station and Laurel Racetrack Station, the latter with minimal service. Laurel Station is a particularly notable example of the stations designed by E. Francis Baldwin for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrobus service provides four routes (87, [78] 89, 89M [79] , and Z7 [80] ) into Laurel, and local RTA bus service is available. Several taxicab and shuttle services also support the region.

Emergency services

The Laurel Police Department and the Prince George's County Police Department are the principal providers of the region's police officers. The Maryland State Police patrol US 1, MD 198, and Interstate 95, which pass through the area, and the United States Park Police patrol the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and its connectors.

PG County Police Department District 6 Station in Beltsville CDP serves unincorporated areas near Laurel, and the City of Laurel itself is within the station's beat map. [81]

Laurel Volunteer Fire Department Engine 103 Laurel Vol Fire Department Engine103.jpg
Laurel Volunteer Fire Department Engine 103
Laurel Volunteer Fire Department Laurel Volunteer Fire Department.jpg
Laurel Volunteer Fire Department

The primary emergency services providers for the City of Laurel and surrounding parts of Prince George's County are the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department (Company 10) and the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad (Company 49). Both companies are part of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department.

The Laurel Volunteer Fire Department was formed in 1902. Today the department is located at 7411 Cherry Lane. Volunteer staffing is supplemented by four career personnel from 7:00am to 3:00pm Monday through Friday excluding holidays. The company operates three fire engines (Engine 101, Engine 103, and Engine 104); and an aerial tower (Tower 10). Ambulance service began December 11, 2006. A paramedic unit staffed by two career personnel is also assigned to Company 10.

The Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad was formed in 1952. Today the department is located at 14910 Bowie Road. Volunteer staffing is supplemented by four career personnel from 7:00am to 3:00pm Monday through Friday excluding holidays. The company operates one heavy rescue squad, one rescue-engine, three basic life support ambulances, and a swiftwater rescue team.

Laurel Regional Hospital, built in 1978 as the Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital, and now managed by Dimensions Healthcare System, is located on Van Dusen Road.


Municipal government

Laurel is governed by a 5-member city council and a mayor. There are two political wards in the city. The first ward is generally the area north of Maryland Route 198 and the second ward is to the south. [82] [83] Two council members are elected from each ward, and a council member is elected at large by residents of both wards. City Council candidates must reside in Laurel a year before their election and during their full term of office. [84] Similarly, mayoral candidates must reside in the city for at least two years prior to their election. [85]

Nonpartisan citywide elections are held every two years on the first Tuesday in November of the odd year. [86] Phelps Senior Center on the corner of Montgomery Street and 8th Street/St. Mary's Place [87] is the polling place for Ward 1, and the Robert J. DiPietro Community Center on Cypress Road is the polling place for Ward 2 voters. [88] The next election, to select a mayor and city council members, will be held in November 2019 with elected individuals to take office at the second regular City Council meeting that follows. [89] Regular meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. [90]

The council elects one of its members to serve as president. The president of the city council presides over council meetings and can act in a limited capacity as mayor if the mayor is unavailable. Council members serve for two years each term; the mayor serves for four years.

Federal government

The U.S. Postal Service operates the following post offices in the city limits: Laurel, [91] Laurel Carrier Annex, [92] and Laurel Commons (at Towne Centre at Laurel). [93] Montpelier Post Office is in nearby South Laurel CDP. [94]

Media and culture


Television arrived in Laurel with the establishment of the first TV broadcast stations in Washington in 1946. For decades, Laurel has been served by the VHF TV channels 4 (WRC-TV / NBC), 5 (WTTG / FOX), 7 (WJLA-TV / ABC), and 9 (WUSA / CBS) from Washington; channels 2 (WMAR-TV / ABC), 11 (WBAL-TV / NBC), and 13 (WJZ-TV / CBS) from Baltimore; plus Maryland Public Television from Annapolis and Baltimore. In addition, there are dozens of UHF TV stations from Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis. From these three cities, scores of AM and FM radio stations reach Laurel.

Laurel has one local newspaper, the Laurel Leader , and one mediumwave AM radio station, WCLM 900, with an adult contemporary format.

With its location between Washington and Baltimore, Laurel is also served by their daily newspapers The Washington Post , The Washington Times and The Baltimore Sun . Many Laurel residents also read a free newspaper, the Washington Examiner .


Local performing arts outlets include the Venus Theatre, Laurel Mill Playhouse, Central Maryland Chorale (formerly Laurel Oratorio Society) and Montpelier Arts Center, which also features an art gallery. Another local exhibitor is the WSSC Art Gallery.


Laurel Main Street Festival, 2007 LaurelMSF.jpg
Laurel Main Street Festival, 2007

The city government supports an annual LakeFest in May and Independence Day celebration each July. Since 1981, the Laurel Board of Trade has sponsored a Main Street Festival (held on Saturday of Mother's Day weekend) each May, and since 1995 a RiverFest each October. The Montpelier Mansion grounds have hosted an annual festival the first weekend in May since 1971, updated in 2007 to focus on an "herb, tea and arts" theme. [95]

Notable people


Primary and secondary schools

Public schools within and serving the city limits

Prince George's County Public Schools serves residents within Laurel's city limits. [104]

Many city residents are zoned to Laurel Elementary School or Scotchtown Hills Elementary School, both within the city limits. There are also residential portions of the city zoned to schools outside the city limits: Bond Mill Elementary School in West Laurel CDP, Deerfield Run Elementary School in South Laurel CDP, Oaklands Elementary School in South Laurel, and Vansville Elementary School in an unincorporated area near Beltsville. [105] Two public middle schools, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in South Laurel CDP and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Beltsville CDP serve the actual city of Laurel. [106] Laurel High School in the city limits serves the city of Laurel. [107]

During the era of legally-required racial segregation of schools, black students from Laurel attended Lakeland High School in College Park in the period 1928–1950, [108] [109] and Fairmont Heights High School, then near Fairmount Heights, from 1950 to 1964; around 1964, legally-required racial segregation of schools ended. [110]

Public schools nearby

Nearby elementary schools serving areas outside of the Laurel city limits include Bond Mill, Deerfield Run, James H. Harrison, Montpelier, Oaklands, and Scotchtown Hills Elementary Schools in Prince George's County; Brock Bridge and Maryland City Elementary Schools in Anne Arundel County; Burtonsville Elementary School in Montgomery County, and Forest Ridge, Gorman Crossing, Hammond, and Laurel Woods Elementary Schools in Howard County.

Areas near Laurel in adjacent counties are served by MacArthur and Meade Middle Schools in Anne Arundel County, Benjamin Banneker Middle School in Montgomery County, and Hammond and Murray Hill Middle Schools in Howard County.

Other public high schools which serve the adjacent areas outside Prince George's County include Meade High School in Anne Arundel County, Paint Branch High School in Montgomery County, and Atholton, Hammond and Reservoir High Schools in Howard County. A notable magnet school in Prince George's County is Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

District of Columbia alternative school

District of Columbia Public Schools operates an alternative middle and high school near Laurel named Maya Angelou Academy.

Private schools

  • Augsburg Academy – Christian Day School; age 4 through grade 9 [111]
  • Faith Baptist Christian School Pre-K through grade 8
  • First Baptist School of Laurel – Pre-K through grade 8
  • Julia Brown Montesorri School – Pre-K through grade 3
  • Kiddie Academy of Laurel – for ages 6 weeks through 12 years
  • Kiddies Kollege Christian Center – for ages 2 years through 5 years
  • Laurel Baptist Academy kindergarten through grade 12
  • Pallotti Day Care Center Catholic kindergarten
  • St. Mary of the Mills School – Catholic kindergarten through grade 8
  • St. Vincent Pallotti High School  – Catholic high school

Colleges, universities, and trade schools

Prince George's Community College and Howard Community College share a campus in Laurel called the Laurel College Center. [112]

Capitol Technology University is located south of Laurel.

The Anne Arundel County section of Laurel hosts the Woodland Job Corps Center.

Public libraries

Prince George's County Memorial Library System operates the Laurel Branch Library at the intersection of Seventh Street and Talbott Avenue. [113] The "Maryland City at Russett" branch of the Anne Arundel County Public Library is also available to Laurel area residents.

Sports and recreation

Laurel's Department of Parks & Recreation sponsors seasonal sports leagues for adults, with youth leagues in the area offered by Laurel Little League, Greater Laurel United Soccer Club (GLUSC), Laurel Soccer Club (LSC), [114] and the Laurel Boys and Girls Club. [115] Events are held among eleven city parks, three athletic fields, and three community centers. The city also operates a municipal swimming pool and tennis courts. [116] Four indoor facilities and seven outdoor facilities are available for private rental. [117]

The Fairland Sports and Athletic Complex on the grounds of the Fairland Regional Park, southwest of the city limits, is operated by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. These facilities offer a broad variety of activities including swimming, gymnastics, tennis, racquetball, weight training, child sitting, and massage therapy. [118]

Also located within Fairland Regional Park, The Gardens Ice House skating facility offers three rinks for ice skating lessons, public skating, figure skating, hockey, speed skating, and curling. Recent additional activities include basketball and lacrosse. [119] The Gardens Ice House is also home to the Washington Jr. Nationals Tier III Junior A ice hockey team, playing in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League, as well as the Maryland Reapers, an indoor football franchise of the American Indoor Football League.

The Laurel Roller Skating Center, just north of the city limits, provides a location for public roller skating, [120] and AMF Bowling has a location in Laurel.

See also

Related Research Articles

Prince Georges County, Maryland County in the United States

Prince George's County is located in the U.S. state of Maryland, bordering the eastern portion of Washington, D.C. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 863,420, making it the second-most populous county in Maryland, behind only Montgomery County. Its county seat is Upper Marlboro. It is one of the richest African American-majority counties in the United States, with five of its communities identified in a 2015 top ten list.

Howard County, Maryland County in the United States

Howard County is a county in the central part of the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, the population was 287,085. Its county seat is Ellicott City.

North Laurel, Maryland Census-designated place in Maryland

North Laurel is a census-designated place (CDP) in Howard County, Maryland, United States. The published population was 4,474 at the 2010 census. This population was substantially less than the CDP's population in 2000, and was the result of an error in defining the boundary prior to tabulation and publication of 2010 Census results. The corrected 2010 Census population is 20,259. North Laurel is adjacent to the City of Laurel, which is located across the Patuxent River in Prince George's County.

Beltsville, Maryland CDP in Maryland

Beltsville is a census-designated place (CDP) in northern Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The community was named for Truman Belt, a local landowner. The population was 16,772 at the 2010 census. Beltsville includes the unincorporated community of Vansville.

Baltimore–Washington Parkway historic National Parkway and highway in Maryland, United States

The Baltimore–Washington Parkway is a highway in the U.S. state of Maryland, running southwest from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. The road begins at an interchange with U.S. Route 50 (US 50) near Cheverly in Prince George's County at the D.C. border, and continues northeast as a parkway maintained by the National Park Service (NPS) to MD 175 near Fort Meade, serving many federal institutions. This portion of the parkway is dedicated to Gladys Noon Spellman, a representative of Maryland's 5th congressional district, and has the unsigned Maryland Route 295 (MD 295) designation. Commercial vehicles, including trucks, are prohibited within this stretch. This section is administered by the NPS' Greenbelt Park unit. After leaving park service boundaries the highway is maintained by the state and signed with the MD 295 designation. This section of the parkway passes near Baltimore–Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Upon entering Baltimore, the Baltimore Department of Transportation takes over maintenance of the road and it continues north to an interchange with Interstate 95 (I-95). Here, the Baltimore–Washington Parkway ends and MD 295 continues north unsigned on Russell Street, which carries the route north into downtown Baltimore. In downtown Baltimore, MD 295 follows Paca Street northbound and Greene Street southbound before ending at US 40.

Savage, Maryland Census-designated place in Maryland, United States

Savage is an unincorporated community and census-designated place located in Howard County, Maryland, about 18 miles (29 km) south of Baltimore and 21 miles (34 km) north of Washington, D.C. It is situated close to the city of Laurel and to the planned community of Columbia. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 7,054. The former mill town is a registered historic place, and has many original buildings preserved within and around the Savage Mill Historic District.

Hanover, Maryland Unincorporated community in Maryland, United States

Hanover is an unincorporated community in the Baltimore/Annapolis area in northwestern Anne Arundel County and eastern Howard County in the U.S. state of Maryland, located south of Baltimore.

Laurel High School (Maryland) high school in Maryland

Laurel High School is a public high school located in Laurel, Maryland; it is the oldest school in the Prince George's County Public Schools system.

The Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Trail (WB&A) is a 10.25-mile (16.50 km) long discontinuous rail trail from Lanham to Odenton in Maryland. Despite its name, it does not actually connect with Washington, D.C., Annapolis or Baltimore; its name is taken from the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Railway, from which the right-of-way comes.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools public school district serving Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States

Anne Arundel County Public Schools is the public school district serving Anne Arundel County, Maryland. With over 80,000 students, the AACPS school system is the 5th largest in Maryland and the 46th largest in the United States. The district has over 5,000 teachers supporting a comprehensive curriculum from Pre-K through 12th grade.

U.S. Route 1 in Maryland highway in Maryland

U.S. Route 1 (US 1) is the easternmost and longest of the major north–south routes of the older 1920s era United States Numbered Highway System, running from Key West, Florida to Fort Kent, Maine. In the U.S. state of Maryland, an 80.86-mile (130.13 km) segment of the route runs through central Maryland between Mount Rainier and Rising Sun.

Maryland Route 216 highway in Maryland

Maryland Route 216 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. Known for most of its length as Scaggsville Road, the highway runs 8.73 miles (14.05 km) from MD 108 at Highland east to MD 198 in Laurel. MD 216 connects Highland, Fulton, Scaggsville, and North Laurel in southern Howard County with Laurel in far northern Prince George's County. The highway connects those communities with Interstate 95 (I-95) and U.S. Route 29.

Maryland Route 212 state highway in Prince Georges County, Maryland, United States

Maryland Route 212 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. The highway runs 10.43 miles (16.79 km) from the District of Columbia boundary in Chillum north and east to U.S. Route 1 near Beltsville. MD 212 connects the northern Prince George's County communities of Chillum, Langley Park, Adelphi, Hillandale, Calverton, and Beltsville. The highway was constructed from Washington to Adelphi in the early 1910s and extended north through Adelphi to Hillandale in the early 1930s. A separate portion of MD 212 was built from west of US 1 through Beltsville to what is now MD 201 in the early 1930s; the two sections were unified in the early 1940s. The route was expanded to a divided highway south of Langley Park in the early 1960s and at Interstate 95 (I-95) in the early 1970s. MD 212's eastern terminus was relocated north of Beltsville after a series of county highways were upgraded and brought into the state highway system in the 2000s and early 2010s; the old highway through Beltsville to MD 201 became MD 212A.

Rocky Gorge Reservoir Maryland reservoir on the Patuxent River

Rocky Gorge Reservoir is located on the Patuxent River in Howard County, Montgomery County and Prince George's County, Maryland between Laurel and Burtonsville, Maryland. The reservoir was created in 1952 by the construction of the T. Howard Duckett Dam on the Patuxent. The dam is visible from Interstate 95 near mile marker 34. Because of its close association with a dam by the name, the reservoir is sometimes called the T. Howard Duckett Reservoir. It has a surface area of 773 acres (3.13 km2). The reservoir is maintained as a drinking water source by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC).

Konterra, Maryland CDP in Maryland

Konterra is an unincorporated area and census-designated place (CDP) in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 2,527 at the 2010 census.

Whiskey Bottom Road

Whiskey Bottom Road is a historic road north of Laurel, Maryland that traverses Anne Arundel and Howard Counties in an area that was first settled by English colonists in the mid-1600s. The road was named in the 1880s in association with one of its residents delivering whiskey after a prohibition vote. With increased residential development after World War II, it was designated a collector road in the 1960s; a community center and park are among the most recent roadside developments.

<i>Laurel Leader</i> newspaper in Laurel, Maryland

The Laurel Leader is a weekly newspaper which has been published continually since 1897, serving the greater Laurel, Maryland area, including Prince George's, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, and Howard Counties. The Leader is currently owned by Tribune Publishing, and operates as a subsidiary of The Baltimore Sun.

Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland

Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland, locally referred to as the RTA, is a transit organization developed to establish a more effective and efficient public transportation system across Central Maryland. The RTA is made up of multiple jurisdictions including Anne Arundel County, Howard County, City of Laurel and Northern Prince George's County. The RTA combined the management and administrative functions of multiple transit operations, reducing operating costs by over 10%, and provided a better customer service experience by improving connections across Central Maryland. The Commission allows all of the participating jurisdictions the ability to oversee transit management operations.

Duvall Farm

The Duvall Farm is a farm located in North Laurel, Howard County, Maryland, now the site of Coastal Sunbelt Produce.


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Further reading