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Laurel History Boys
Presentation Topics

Our presentations are informative, engaging, and fun! They're also completely free. Each presentation is aided by a slideshow and is typically less than an hour in length. Below is a complete list of topics. Contact us to tailor a presentation to your organization's next event.

 

Baltimore-Washington Speedway

The story of a mammoth wooden track for auto racing that operated for only a few years in the 1920s. Many of the best drivers of the era raced there.

Boy Robber

The 1911 attempted robbery of the Citizen’s National Bank on Main Street by a teenager that resulted in a posse searching the town

The Carol Replane Cold Case

The story of a teacher’s murder in 1963 that was never solved. She was abducted in Laurel and her body was found in Ellicott City. After years of research and interviews, Kevin Leonard details exactly what happened, the extensive police investigation, and how he figured out who was the killer.

 

Construction of Rocky Gorge Dam

The history of the water supply system and the construction of Rocky Gorge Dam in 1954

The Destruction of Mother Nature

A look at the hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires, and other disasters from Laurel’s past.

Failed Mega-projects

The 2 mega projects (one from the 1970s & one from 1990s) that, had they come to fruition, would have changed the geographic and economic landscape of Howard County and the Laurel area forever

Fort Meade POWs

An internment camp at Fort Meade during WWII that later became a prisoner-of-war camp

Fort Meade Stories

Eisenhower’s time living in Laurel and Fort Meade, entertainers during WWII, and the Pigeon Corp that trained carrier pigeons for the battlefield

The History of Main Street

Take a literal walk through Main Street’s history with Richard Friend! This is an actual walking tour, from the Laurel Museum to the B & O Train Station, complete with vintage photos and little-known, block-by-block historical details. This presentation is designed to be a fully interactive group walking tour, but can also be a traditional on-screen presentation for those unable to walk long distances.

An Incomplete History of Laurel’s Roadways

A collection of articles and photos that show the progress and history of local road construction

The KKK in the 1960s

Virtually all activity of the Ku Klux Klan from Howard County through the greater Laurel area in the late 1960s was the work of a single narcissistic publicity hound. He was so bad that the Klan kicked him out.

Laurel’s Centennial Celebration

A huge community-wide, week-long celebration in 1970 of Laurel’s centennial that featured a live show with 400 local residents in the cast

Laurel’s First Mass Murder

The 1919 multiple murders that were the first mass murders in the town’s history

Laurel Pop & Jazz Festivals

The Pop Festival was a 1969 2-day music festival at the Laurel Race Course that featured some of the biggest acts in rock ‘n roll, including Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Sly and the Family Stone, and others, that ended early because of a “riot” by concert-goers. The Jazz Festival was held 3 straight years and the lineups of acts were the equal of, or possibly surpassed, the Pop Festival.

Laurel Sanitarium

The true story of a local, creepy landmark that continues to be a very popular source of fascination

Laurel’s Housing Boom

A 4-part presentation focusing on West Laurel, the Fairlawn district, the Route 197 corridor, and Maryland City, from the mid-1950s to the mid-60s (can be presented separately)

Laurel Joins the Telecom Revolution

The 1954 advent of dial telephones and direct toll calls, which ushered in the modern telephone age in Laurel

Laurel Shopping Center

The story of the center, from vision to development to extravaganza opening in 1956, which changed the face of retail shopping in the whole area

Laurel Shopping Center Retail History

The changing faces in the original shopping center, Phase 2, Georgetown Alley, and the enclosed Laurel Mall (can be presented with Laurel Shopping Center, above)

Laurel War Stories

3 stories from 3 different eras: Laurel’s role in the Bonus Army of WWI veterans, life in Laurel during WWII, and the first POW from the Vietnam era, who was from Laurel

Lost Laurel

A look at how a hyper-local blog came to be, and how memory triggers of places past have connected thousands of current and former Laurel residents

Maryland City Development & Retail

2-part presentation discussing the development of Maryland City and the retail boom that accompanied it (Maryland City Development is one of the parts of Housing Boom, above)

Merriweather Post Pavilion

The story of how Merriweather came to be and its first difficult 10 years

 

Route 197 Corridor Retail History

The changing face of the various shopping options along Route 197 (can be presented with Housing Boom, above)

Shooting of George Wallace

The police investigative files reveal much information that was never released to the public in the aftermath of the attempted assassination of the presidential candidate at the Laurel Shopping Center in 1972

Stefanie Watson Cold Case

Richard Friend gives a special presentation on the 1982 murder that shocked Laurel, and remained unsolved for 30 years. Learn how his Lost Laurel blog played a role in cold case detectives taking a fresh look, and the DNA hit that finally brought justice.

WWII in Laurel

A year-by-year description of life in Laurel, with some personal stories from residents

Organizations that have hosted

our presentations include:

Ann Arrundell County Historical Society

Antonio Gatto Lodge of the Sons of Italy

City of Laurel

Fort Meade 100 Years Documentary Premiere

Friends of Montpelier

Howard County Historical Society

Laurel-Beltsville Senior Center

Laurel Branch Library

​Laurel High School Career Day

Laurel High School Spartan Historical Society

Laurel Historical Society

Laurel Police Department

Maryland City Library

Savage Historical Society

Victoria Falls Senior Community

Women’s Club of Laurel