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Laurel is a city in northern Prince George's County, Maryland, in the United States, located midway between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore on the Patuxent River.

History

Laurel was formed from land on the fall line of the Patuxent River owned by the Snowden family, which also ownedMontpelier. The Washington Turnpike Road Company built Route 1 between 1796 and 1812, creating a major North-South land route with George Washington as a regular traveler. A grist mill on the site circa 1811 grew to a small cotton mill by the 1820s. 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. In 1835, coinciding with the opening of the Capital Subdivision rail line from Baltimore to Washington, the Patuxent Manufacturing Company was chartered, and the mill expanded greatly. Mill president Horace Capron with his partners built housing for close to 300 workers, and a bigger cotton mill. Cotton duck from the mill was shipped down what would become Laurel’s Main Street, then by rail to Baltimore. A substantial dam was built in 1850. As a mill town, Laurel was somewhat unique in Prince George’s County and was surrounded by agricultural endeavors.

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