Lost Laurel Books… Thank You!

After nearly 20 lengthy trips to my local post office, I’m happy to report that all* of the Lost Laurel books have finally been mailed! (Cue applause!)

Most of you should have already received your books and Kickstarter rewards by now, but the final batch went out today—so everyone who pre-ordered should have their books in hand before the end of this week.

If you’ve ever wondered what the collective receipts for nearly 500 packages looks like, here’s a glimpse:

post office receipts

I greatly appreciate everyone’s patience, as I know this has been a long time coming. As I’ve mentioned, I had to package and mail each book myself, and did so in the order in which I received payment. So, there was a lengthy list of Kickstarter supporters who came first—many of which required boxes, with things like fragile Little Tavern coffee mugs carefully packed inside along with the book itself. I then moved on to the later pre-orders placed via PayPal.

The unexpected snafus from the printer really threw more than just a wrench in the works, as I’ve detailed before. Aside from their shipping delays, the limited-edition hardcover books inadvertently became even more limited when they mistakenly only printed 100 rather than the 200 I’d ordered. I ended up receiving a total of 143, which unfortunately still wasn’t enough. A few customers who pre-ordered hardcovers via PayPal late in the game will have to settle for a signed softcover instead—along with a Lost Laurel postcard pack and a portion of your payment refunded to the softcover price. (This has already been done, so if you didn’t receive a PayPal partial refund, your order wasn’t affected).

That drama aside, I’m glad to hear that the books are arriving and people are pleased with them! I even received an actual thank you card from someone recently! That wasn’t necessary, but it made my day, and I certainly appreciate it.

Going back to the very start of this project, I want to reiterate my appreciation of the generous contributions from so many of you–contributions that ultimately were the difference in this book getting made. As you’ll see in the book itself, there are two spreads of acknowledgments thanking everyone who pitched in during the Kickstarter campaign, and I’d like to publish those names here, as well. A very big thank you to you all, indeed!

 

Thank you spread 1

Thank you spread 2

 

*There are still a couple of you who ordered books, but haven’t sent me your mailing addresses: Anita M. Mueller and Geoff Childs! If you’d like to pick them up in person, I’ll be at the Laurel Municipal Pool Room (9th & Main Street) this Thursday night (April 10th) at 7PM for Kevin Leonard’s “History Matters Expanded” presentation.

The Laurel Museum will also be open that night from 6–7, and their gift shop has the remaining supply of Lost Laurel books for anyone wishing to buy extra copies. They also have exhibit posters available in two sizes, and designed by yours truly! I’ll be on hand Thursday night, signing copies. Stop by and say hello!

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“(Re)Collecting Laurel” presentation this Thursday!

lost-laurel-recollecting-laurel-flyer

The Lost Laurel books are almost here; unfortunately, it sounds like they’re not going to make it in time for my Laurel Historical Society presentation this Thursday night after all. (I was planning to do both a talk and book signing). Four Colour Print Group has confirmed that the long-delayed freight is FINALLY cleared and being readied for dispatch, but the odds of it arriving by Thursday just aren’t good. :(

However, my “(Re)Collecting Laurel” presentation WILL go on as planned—so please come out to the Laurel Museum between 6-7 PM and tour the Lost & Found Laurel exhibit, and then head over to the Municipal Pool meeting room next door for the talk at 7!

When the books do finally arrive, (and for the printer’s sake, let’s hope that’s in the next few days) I’ll immediately begin mailing out signed copies to everyone who pre-ordered, along with a full set of Lost Laurel postcards (and the perks those of you bought exclusively on Kickstarter). Books will also soon be available in the Laurel Museum gift shop, for those who’ve yet to order.

Thanks for your patience, everyone—and I hope to see you Thursday night in Laurel!

~ Richard

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March 13th Lecture & Book Signing (…fingers crossed!)

If you haven’t heard, I’m giving a presentation next Thursday, March 13th at the Laurel Municipal Pool meeting room at 7PM. It’s a fun, interactive talk called (Re)Collecting Laurel, that discusses how Lost Laurel began, collecting Laurel memorabilia, and more. It’s totally free, and is presented by the Laurel Historical Society.

lost-laurel-booksigning-flyer

The plan is to also do a book signing that night… provided the books actually get here in time. (!!!)

As I’ve mentioned, I had been told to expect the books around the middle of February, at which point I had planned to mail them out, so everyone would have them in time for this event—which the Laurel Historical Society and I have been planning for months. However, I found out on February 19th that the cargo container the books arrived in (along with countless other imports) was being held for random inspection by U.S. Customs at the NY/NJ port.

Nancy Heinonen, the production manager I’ve been dealing with at Four Colour Print Group, has been providing me with updates that range from optimistic to maddeningly frustrating. Her emails have literally gone from “…that would put delivery at the first week of March”, to “I’m certain you’ll have books for your March 13th event,” to “Since this is such a rare, extreme situation, I no longer feel comfortable giving you any educated guesses as to what will happen, or when books will arrive.”

The latest delay, of course, is the extreme weather that’s compounding things at ports all over the east coast. This isn’t just affecting their company—even the likes of Walmart and Target aren’t getting their goods any faster, despite their large influence.

She’s assured me that their freight broker has flagged my delivery as top priority, and is well aware of my March 13th deadline; but apparently that’s the extent of what they can do. Fortunately, she hasn’t given up hope—especially with the considerably warmer weather coming over the next week, which can only be a good thing. But that’s the fun situation I’m in: sitting, waiting, and hoping the books make it here in time.

She mentioned the possibility of “grabbing some cartons and shipping them by air”, and wanted to know a minimum quantity—but I made it clear that I need to have enough books on hand for those who’ve pre-ordered them as well as extras for sale.

I’ll keep everyone posted over these next few days via Kickstarter, Facebook, and this blog. And if the books do indeed arrive in time, I’ll ask that you kindly let me know if you plan to attend the event and pick up your copy in person. Otherwise, I’ll still plan on mailing the pre-ordered books out as soon as possible.

Also, after I’ve delivered all of the pre-ordered books, the remaining paperback supply will ultimately be for sale at the Laurel Museum gift shop—so you’ll be able to buy extra copies when you check out the new Lost & Found Laurel exhibit—which opened on February 9th to a fantastic crowd! While the Museum isn’t usually open on Thursdays, they will be open for visitors next Thursday night from 6–7, before the lecture.

I greatly appreciate everyone’s patience, and look forward to finally getting these books in-hand very soon. Hope to see many of you at next Thursday’s event!

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Stanley Memorial Library: What’s In a Name?

UPDATE: 3/8/14

Shortly after stories were published about opposition to the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System’s plan to drop the “Stanley Memorial” name from the new library, Laurel resident Maureen Johnson wrote a letter to the editor of the Laurel Leader, in favor of changing the name. She brought to light an important historical detail that had been readily available in Charles H. Stanley’s online biography, but until now, hadn’t so much as raised an eyebrow: he fought for the Confederacy.

She raised the point that it’s not necessarily the fact that a library is named after a Confederate veteran that troubles her; it’s the location of the library that is going to undoubtedly rub many residents the wrong way—Laurel’s historically African-American neighborhood, The Grove. Moreover, the new building will occupy an even larger portion of Emancipation Park than the current building does.

Maureen gave an interview with NBC4′s Tracee Wilkins last night that explained her position well:

NBC4 News screenshot

Click image for link to video and story on NBCWashington.com

It’s crucial that I include this update, because much has changed over the last few days—and it’s in the interest of fairness that I add Maureen’s voice to the story.

When I wrote the original post below—and subsequently launched a petition urging the Library Board to keep the Stanley name, it was solely in response to the news that the PGCMLS was planning to drop the name “in order to make the library easier to find”—which I think we can all agree was a universally absurd reason.

As far as I was concerned at the time, the only issue at hand was the library’s potential breach of contract with the Stanley family—the descendants of Charles Stanley, who generously donated the land for which a library in his honor was constructed.

For whatever reason, it seems that the idea of actually researching the complete life history of Mr. Stanley himself has just never manifested until now. And in the heat of the moment, reading what little information was posted about him, the innocuous mention that he served as a private in the Confederate army admittedly didn’t have anywhere near the emotional effect on me as it did Ms. Johnson; and that resulted in some spirited back-and-forth on Facebook earlier this week.

I’m happy to report that I had the chance to meet Maureen in person yesterday, and found her to be a wonderful, engaging lady who’s clearly passionate about her hometown. She’s also acutely aware of the sensitivity of this entire situation, and acknowledges that it’s complicated on so many levels.

We discussed my concern that Stanley’s legacy of extensive service to Laurel shouldn’t be tarnished outright without significantly more research. There are snippets emerging of other potentially important and redeeming deeds that Stanley may have done in his lifetime that specifically benefited the African-American community, too—if verifiable, those types of things would certainly have to be taken into consideration, as well. By the same token, should more troubling details surface about his Civil War experience, it needs to come to light for history’s sake, and particularly for the sake of the surrounding community in which his namesake library has stood for nearly half a century.

The PGCMLS has a difficult task ahead, and I hope they’ll reach out to the Stanley family—or vice versa—and work together to reach a solution that’s in Laurel’s best interest.

We’ve hardly heard the last of this story. In the meantime, the Laurel Leader‘s Luke Lavoie has written the first extensive piece on it, which you can read here. There are plenty of good points within.

And if all that isn’t enough library action for you, don’t forget that today, March 8th, is actually the last day that the old building will be open to the public. Stop by and soak it all in, one last time.

 

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The original post appears below.

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(Laurel Historical Society collection)

(Laurel Historical Society collection)

The final week of Laurel’s Stanley Memorial Library is nearly upon us, as the building that opened in 1967 is scheduled to close on March 10th. After next Saturday, March 8th, patrons will have to wait until March 31st for the opening of a temporary facility behind the Municipal Center—as the old building will be demolished and construction set to begin on the town’s brand new facility.

The new library will be on the same site, situated at the corner of 7th & Talbott. So while Laurel isn’t technically losing its library, it will be losing the recognizable building that so many have utilized in its nearly 47 years. And that’s the toughest part for me, personally—having worked there as a clerical aide from 1987–97, I’m just not looking forward to seeing the place I knew so well torn down. I was part of the staff who, way back in 1993, physically moved every book, shelf, and table around during the expansion.

(Richard Friend/Lost Laurel collection)

(Richard Friend/Lost Laurel collection)

Make no mistake, getting a new library is a very big deal. And it’s good for Laurel. The branch desperately needed the expansion 21 years ago, and has since outgrown that, as well. And this year is shaping up to be one of a renaissance for the town, what with the opening of the new Town Centre at Laurel this Fall, and the library construction.

But one of the issues recently being brought to light is the name of the library itself—something that has been a bit blurred over the decades, and something which the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System has done little to clarify.

Most of us—myself included, as well as the very librarians and staff who’ve worked there for years—have always referred to the building as “the Laurel Library”. It’s how they answer the phones there, and it’s simply an accepted informal name. In fact, most people don’t even use “Laurel” when referring to it; because if you’re in Laurel and you’re going to “the library”, there’s only one you’re going to.

But at the same time, most of us who use these abbreviated names are still conscious of the fact that the building does have a proper name gracing its exterior—the Stanley Memorial Library. And now, for whatever reason, the Prince George’s County Board of Library Trustees is planning to formally drop Stanley’s name from the new building entirely. And they’re doing so under the auspices of “helping the public find the library”—as if A) people in Laurel have forgotten that there’s been a library at this location for nearly half a century, and B) you couldn’t Google directions in a matter of seconds—in this Internet age that has, in effect, almost made libraries obsolete.

(Wikipedia)

Charles H. Stanley (1842–1913) was the second mayor of Laurel, as well as the founder and president of Citizens National Bank on Main Street. A quick perusal of his biography at the Maryland State Archives will show that he was much more—not only in the Laurel community, but to Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland itself.

(Maryland State Archives)

(Maryland State Archives)

(Maryland State Archives)

(Maryland State Archives)

He lived and died in Laurel, and is buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery—where he could soon be spinning in his grave, should his name be unceremoniously dropped from the library that was always intended to bear his name.

stanley-grave

According to Sylvia Bolivar, president of the Prince George’s County Board of Library Trustees:

“The Board believes that naming a branch library according to its location helps the public to find libraries close to their neighborhoods, whereas a building named after a person, tends to render a library harder to find.”

She wrote this in a January 22nd response to Laurel Mayor Craig Moe, who had respectfully contested the change. PGCMLS director Kathleen Teaze supported her position in the name of “…(keeping) consistency among the system”—the system, of course, being a simple naming convention based on the branch location.

The Laurel Historical Society also supports keeping the name intact, and Executive Director Lindsey Baker not only submitted an editorial letter in this week’s Laurel Leader, but wisely pointed out this important tidbit:

In the 1963 deed transferring the land where the library currently sits, it specifically states that the Board of County Commissioners for Prince George’s County will erect “a Public Library Building to be known as ‘The Stanley Memorial Library’ ” on the land deeded from the Stanley family.

That fact alone should be legally ironclad, for as long as any library sits on the parcel of land at the corner of 7th and Talbott. And the Board of Library Trustees’ plan to “commemorate Stanley with a photo and memorial in the library lobby” is an embarrassingly poor compromise, when the man’s name was always intended to be much more prominently associated.

I know what some of you are probably thinking. “Who cares, right? It’s just a library.” I’m sure the Stanley family cares, having deeded the land for the library in the first place. Clearly Mayor Moe and the Laurel Historical Society care. I care, and you should care. Most of all, the Prince George’s County Board of Library Trustees had better start caring.

What I find most ironic in this is the complete lack of recognition of their own name, the Prince George’s County MEMORIAL Library System. Maybe they should consider changing that, if they’re no longer concerned with memorializing those who made the branches possible.

In fairness, I understand to some degree what they’re trying to do. Naming the libraries by location makes perfect sense; and again, people are inherently going to revert to calling them that anyway. It happens with many building dedications, including schools and government facilities. How many DC tourists do you think ask for directions to the “J. Edgar Hoover Building”? They don’t. They say, “Where’s the FBI building?” And that’s fine, because Mr. Hoover’s name is still on it, regardless.

If PGCMLS wishes to refer to the new building as the “Laurel Library”, I see no reason why they shouldn’t. The public can refer to it that way, as well. But the new building should nonetheless still prominently bear the name “Stanley Memorial Library”, as its original land deed intended. That part is non-negotiable. And ultimately, it would be no different than it’s always been.

(Laurel Leader, May 14, 1981)

(Laurel Leader, May 14, 1981)

(Photo: PGCMLS)

(Photo: PGCMLS)

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I’d like to get back to the Board of Library Trustees’ idea of commemorating Mr. Stanley with a photo and memorial in the lobby for a moment, though. Because while it isn’t appropriate for Mr. Stanley himself in this circumstance, I certainly don’t mean to belittle a lobby tribute—to the right person. In fact, it might be unconventional, but there’s someone in particular I’d really like to see receive that honor.

A lot of wonderful people have worked at the Laurel branch since 1967, and sadly, some of them are no longer with us. One such person I’ll forever associate with the library is a gentleman named Tom Acra.

Tom Acra, January 1993. (Photo: Richard Friend)

Tom Acra, January 1993. (Photo: Richard Friend)

Tom Acra and librarian Brenda Hill, January 1993. (Photo: Richard Friend)

Tom and librarian Brenda Hill, January 1993. (Photo: Richard Friend)

Tom was the quintessential jack of all trades. Admittedly, I don’t recall what his official job title was—whether it was “maintenance supervisor” or “building superintendent” or something along those lines; one thing was clear—Tom took care of the Laurel Library like it was his home, and the employees and patrons like they were his family. He was the first person to open the building each morning and the last to lock up and leave; and from his modest workshop in the basement, he had the tools and skills necessary to handle any task at hand. A pipe burst? Tom could fix it. He was always there for any such maintenance emergency, but more routinely, he handled custodial duties: buffing the tiles, vacuuming the carpets, washing the windows, dusting and wiping down the shelves, and more. In the winter, there were no snow plow teams to clear the parking lot—there was only Tom, with a single shovel, a bucket of ice melt, and that familiar, friendly voice of his, cautioning everyone who approached to be careful not to slip. “Aww yeeeaah… watch your step, there…”

Tom was one of the first friends I made when I started working at the library, and no matter how busy he was, he always had time to chat about the Redskins, an upcoming election, the weather, or a particular history book that had caught his eye over in section 973. (Yes, after all these years, I still can’t shake the Dewey Decimal System…)

Tom had started working at the library straight out of high school himself, and simply kept at it year after year—learning the nuances of the building and caring for it like no one else. He’d been part of the first massive rearrangement of books in 1977, and spearheaded the laborious task again in 1993 when the library expanded.

(Laurel Leader, August 4, 1977)

(Laurel Leader, August 4, 1977)

As the years went on and the PGCMLS budget tightened, Tom was utilized even more. I can recall clerical aide hiring freezes that lasted for a year or longer; during which time Tom would help our depleted team by reshelving books and stamping date due cards. More often than not, we never even had to go out to unload the book drop, because Tom had beaten us to it.

Before long, he’d even been recruited to man the circulation desk, and seemed to relish the time spent helping patrons check out their books and other materials. His was a familiar face at checkout time on Sundays, especially—when most staff members opted for Sundays off. (Yes, the library was actually open on Sundays back then—during the school year, at least.)

And it was with the patrons that Tom really connected, ironically. He wasn’t a librarian, or someone you’d expect to be a “people person”, but that’s precisely what he was. In fact, he was a natural at it—and he connected with people of all ages. Kids from the neighboring Grove would occasionally come into the library for a drink from the water fountain and a brief respite from the outside heat, and their voices would inevitably get louder—a bit too loud for a library. Whereas most adults would blow a gasket, Tom had a gentle way of approaching the kids; for one thing, he knew them all by name, and they knew him. And in a matter of seconds, he’d have them quietly perusing a book or magazine, and then happily on their way.

Yes, Tom Acra was much more to the Stanley Memorial Library than just a maintenance man. Taking care of the building and its denizens was more than just a job to him.

Tom passed away unexpectedly in February 2003 at the age of 50. And when his beloved old library is torn down in the next few weeks, I’m kind of grateful he won’t have to be here to witness it.

tom-acra-grave

But in closing, I would like to offer these simple suggestions to the Prince George’s County Board of Library Trustees:

  • Continue to honor the legacy of Charles H. Stanley by placing the rightful name, “Stanley Memorial Library” on the new building. If you wish to refer to it within the system as the “Laurel Library”, by all means do so—just as you always have. But please don’t try to remove or relegate his name and think people won’t notice… or mind.
  • If you’re considering honoring someone from the community with a small memorial plaque in the lobby, honor someone who truly did give their all to the library. Tom Acra wasn’t a wealthy benefactor or politician, and you won’t readily find his name in books or newspapers; but he certainly invested a lifetime of care and stewardship into our library, and I have no doubt he’d do the same for the new building.
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We’re In the News… and Then Some!

laurelleader.com front page

If you’ve been perusing the front page of the Laurel Leader‘s online edition this week, you’ve seen something extraordinary—a LOT of coverage of the new Lost & Found Laurel exhibit, which enjoyed a tremendously successful grand opening this past Sunday at the Laurel Museum!

Most importantly, the reviews are unanimously positive. An unprecedented 150+ attended the opening, and their enjoyment could be both seen, heard, and felt in the oldest house in Laurel. Jeff Dudley, who manages the Tastee Diner and writes the “Old Town Laurel” column for the Leader said it best:

“…it felt more like a family reunion than a museum event.”

Here’s a selection of articles that have come out so far:

Digging the Past at “Lost & Found Laurel” (by Patti Restivo, Laurel Leader)

For Richard Friend, Finding Lost Laurel is “Labor of Love” (by Patti Restivo, Laurel Leader)

Exhibit Proves You Don’t Know What You’ve Lost, ’til It’s Found (Editorial, Laurel Leader)

Lost & Found Laurel—Pictures (Photo gallery by Nate Pesce, Laurel Leader)

Lost & Found Laurel Opens Sunday at Laurel Museum (by Melanie Dzwonchyk, Laurel Leader)

And this comes on the heels of last week’s media coverage leading up to the grand opening:

Collectors Find Plenty of Laurel Memories (“History Matters” by Kevin Leonard, Laurel Leader)

Laurel History Memorabilia—Pictures (Photo gallery, Laurel Leader)

Amateur Historian Inspires Laurel Museum Exhibit (by Emilie Eastman, The Gazette)

The Museum is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 10AM–2PM and Sundays from 1PM–4PM, and the exhibit runs until December 21st. And even if you’ve seen it once, you’ll want to go back—plenty of “new” pieces will be rotated in throughout the year.

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SUNDAY! SUNDAY!! SUNDAAAYYY!!!

If you were around during the era of small racetracks that regularly hosted local races, demolition derbies, and monster truck events, you undoubtedly remember the radio announcer’s rallying cry of “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!” For Lost Laurel, tomorrow—Sunday, February 9th—is every bit as exciting. And then some.

The Lost & Found Laurel exhibit has its grand opening tomorrow at the Laurel Museum from 1:00–4:00.

lost-and-found-laurel-facebook-cover-grand-opening

The museum, located in what is believed to be the oldest house in Laurel (dating to at least the 1840s, with some estimates going back to 1802) is at the corner of 9th & Main Streets. Admission is free.

Even before it was the Laurel Museum, the oldest house in Laurel was a landmark. (Ceramic tile courtesy of Peter & Martha (Kalbach) Lewnes).

Both the Laurel Leader and The Gazette have been spreading the word this week, and the Leader will be covering the grand opening, as well! Here are a few of the media links to date:

Collectors Find Plenty of Laurel Memories  |  Laurel Leader “History Matters” column by Kevin Leonard

Amateur Historian Inspires Laurel Museum Exhibit  |  Gazette feature by Emilie Eastman

Laurel Museum Opens “Lost & Found Laurel” Exhibit Sunday  |  Laurel Leader web feature by Melanie Dzwonchyk

Laurel History Memorabilia  |  (Laurel Leader photo gallery)

Lost & Found Laurel Opens February 9  |  Eventful.com

While I did have the chance to get a few sneak peeks along the way, I’ll be experiencing the opening for the first time along with everyone else. When I was at the Museum last weekend, the exhibit panels had been printed but not yet installed, and many of the displays were only just beginning to take shape.

Laurel Museum pre-opening

I won’t even attempt to list the full variety of things you’ll discover, but yes—that is the original Hershey’s Ice Cream sign that hung from Keller’s/Knapp’s Laurel News Agency for decades. Beside it (partially hidden behind the glass showcase with the fleet of Lost Laurel toy trucks) is the cash register from Cook’s Laurel Hardware. Both of these treasures have been in the Laurel Historical Society’s archives since the businesses closed.

***

I also have an update on the Lost Laurel book, as we’re all anxiously awaiting the printed shipment.

James River Bridge cargo ship 2/7/14

The cargo ship carrying the books arrived in New York yesterday, and I was told to allow an additional 7–10 days for customs clearance and delivery; so I’m expecting to have the books in hand the week of February 17th, at which point I’ll begin mailing out the pre-ordered copies.

You can still pre-order copies right here, and I’ll also have copies available for sale at my “(Re)Collecting Laurel” presentation and book signing event on March 13th—a fun talk that I’m looking forward to as part of the Laurel Historical Society Speakers Bureau!

But remember, you can also win one of the very first copies of the book at the grand opening tomorrow! I donated the two advance copies I’d received (one paperback and one hard cover edition) to the Museum for this purpose, so be sure to come out and take a chance! I look forward to seeing many of you there and hearing what you think about the exhibit!

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A Busy Week!

It’s a particularly busy and exciting week for Lost Laurel!

I’ll be giving a presentation with Kevin Leonard (writer of the popular “History Matters” column in the Laurel Leader) Thursday night (February 6th) at 7:30 at the Women’s Club of Laurel on Main Street. We’ve put together a fun and informative talk called “Lost Laurel Leader”, on behalf of the Laurel Historical Society Speakers Bureau.

Image

Kevin will discuss the Laurel Shopping Center’s unique development and promotions, covering it’s grand opening in 1956 to the addition of Laurel Centre Mall in 1979. I’ll be talking about the origins of the Lost Laurel blog and Facebook page (and the soon-to-be arriving book), some of the pitfalls a historian faces when researching these things, and how one goes about becoming a collector of Laurel “memorabilia”.

If you’re in the area, stop by and check it out! The Women’s Club is located at 384 Main Street, in the small building beside the former Citizens National Bank. Believe it or not, the clubhouse building was originally the Laurel Library, before it relocated to 7th Street—where it’s entering its final days before meeting the wrecking ball, as construction will soon begin on yet another new facility. But that’s another story for another day—back to this busy and exciting week!

The bigger event occurs this Sunday, February 9th, when the Lost & Found Laurel exhibit open this Sunday at the Laurel Museum!

Image

I’ve had the pleasure and honor of lending a hand (and quite a few pieces from my collection) to this exhibit, which is about much more than just past businesses. Here’s the Museum’s description:

How do You See Your home town? How do you remember it? Lost & Found Laurel, a new exhibit that takes visitors on a trip down memory lane opens February 9, 2014 at the Laurel Museum. Focusing on the 1960s through the present, the exhibit explores the shops, schools, restaurants, activities and celebrations that created a fondly remembered community. One section: “The Good Old Days…?” focuses on racial tensions, as a reminder that not all memories were good ones. As part of the Grand Opening celebration the first copies of Lost Laurel: The Book have been donated by author Richard Friend and will be raffled off February 9.

That’s right—the two advance book copies I received from the printer (one signed paperback and one signed & numbered hardcover) will be raffled off at the grand opening. Whomever wins them will literally have the very first copies produced, as the full shipment won’t arrive to me for another couple of weeks!

There’ll be much more to come on the exhibit, which will run all the way through December. But for now, mark your calendars and try to join us (weather permitting) for these fun events! Also, keep your eyes peeled this week for news in both the Laurel Leader and The Gazette on the exhibit.

Image

 

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Lost Laurel for Christmas

After a whirlwind couple of months, the Lost Laurel book is heading to the printer!

I’ve completed the design, which included a few key last-minute additions, as well as a full index! Now comes the waiting game—waiting to find out the printing schedule, waiting for proofs to review, and last but certainly not least, waiting for the finished printed books to arrive!

The good news is that we’re well ahead of the May 2014 deadline I’d set for the project. But the bad news is that the slim chances of a delivery in time for Christmas are probably even slimmer. That being said, I’ve come up with what will hopefully be a nifty solution that will still allow you to give the Lost Laurel book as a Christmas gift this year—even if the book does arrive later.

Click on the gift tag image below and save the file to your computer. It’s an 8.5″ x 11″ printable card that you can use as a stocking stuffer—so your loved ones will know that their very cool gift is on its way… and will be worth the wait!

Click for full-size version, then save to your computer.

If you weren’t able to reserve a copy of the book through the Kickstarter campaign—or for extra copies—you can still pre-order them right here for the same price as they were on Kickstarter.

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Kickstarter Campaign Ends Today!

Your chance to order a Lost Laurel book via the Kickstarter campaign is ending this evening, as an incredibly successful 30-day campaign will come to a close!

There are still plenty of great rewards available, too—many of them exclusive to backers of the project on Kickstarter.com.

Also, you don’t have to purchase a book to be able to contribute; even a $5 pledge will get your name printed in the book’s acknowledgments. Every dollar helps, as evidenced by the over $17,000 this campaign has raised. That money has elevated the book from a 152-page print-on-demand paperback that may have yielded less than 300 total copies, to a 192-page book that will be printed on premium paper with high-quality binding; with a minimum 1,000 softcover copies to be available, as well as a limited-edition run of 200 hardcover books. It’s a huge upgrade that never would have been possible without your support.

You can see a preview of the scope of the book in this sample copy I had printed, but the final version will be even bigger and better. Over 20 pages have been added since!

If you haven’t done so already, please visit the campaign page soon and contribute before the clock runs out!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/richardfriend/lost-laurel-the-book

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Farewell, Bay ‘n Surf

While the former Bay ‘n Surf restaurant had sat vacant and crumbling since 2007, the shock of seeing it actually torn down today will undoubtedly leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many who remember it in its heyday—a time when it was the undisputed heavyweight champ of Maryland cream of crab soup.

bay n surf demolition 1-sharon nuzback

Photo: Sharon Nuzback

Videos courtesy of Chris Blucher

 

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Photo: Dave DeBlasis

Photo: Sharon Nuzback

Photo: Sharon Nuzback

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Photo: Sharon Nuzback

Photo: John Mewshaw

Photo: John Mewshaw

Originally opened in 1965, the restaurant closed after a refrigerator compressor fire in the early morning hours of Valentines Day, 2007. Speculation about reopening—even at another location—floated around for years, but never materialized.

The initial word on the street is that the site will soon be home to a new mini strip center, but there’s been no confirmation on potential tenants. (Sadly, I’m guessing none will offer cream of crab soup, though).

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