My name is Richard Friend, and I grew up in Laurel, Maryland in the 1970s and 80s.
Now based in Northern Virginia, I’m a graphic designer whose interest in Laurel’s retail history began while documenting life in the modest neighborhood where I lived from 1978 to 1987, Steward Manor Apartments.
An ancillary project, I started Lost Laurel as a way of also documenting and sharing the numerous stores, restaurants, and other businesses of bygone Laurel. It’s turned out to be more than just a pastime for me, and I’m continually amazed at the number of people who share what I thought was an unusual passion; people who appreciate the businesses that once resided in our hometown. In many ways, I’ve found that these places really had lives of their own—lives that are worth remembering.
The Lost Laurel Facebook page has grown to over 4,500 followers, and I enjoy posting new photos of vintage Laurel there daily.
I published my first book in 2013; and in 2014, worked with the Laurel Historical Society to create “Lost & Found Laurel”—an exhibit at the Laurel Museum that ran until December 21st. The book, Lost Laurel, is now available through the Laurel Museum gift shop, and an eBook version is available here.
If you have anything representing a former Laurel retailer, I would greatly appreciate it if you’d email photos or scans to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in the project. These could be photographs, brochures, ads, business cards, receipts/letterhead, matchbooks, shopping bags, price tags, menus, etc.—memory triggers that remind us of the Laurel we once knew. I will gladly credit your photos and artifacts wherever they’re used. And if it’s something you plan to part with, kindly let me know before you do—I’m actively purchasing items for the Lost Laurel collection, trying to save and share every bit of nostalgia that I can!