As we’re suddenly almost into December, it occurred to me that this has probably been the longest I’ve gone without an actual post here on the Lost Laurel blog. But that’s not to say that I haven’t been active, by any stretch of the imagination. Hopefully, you’ve been following along on both the Lost Laurel and Laurel History Boys Facebook pages. Social media certainly has its faults, but it undeniably remains a fantastic way to quickly share photos and engage online.
This has been a particularly busy year for the Laurel History Boys, even with what has effectively been another shutdown in terms of in-person presentations—which, for us, represent the best opportunity to sell our books. In January, we launched Voices of Laurel—a free quarterly newspaper that utilizes writing contributions from a diverse range of people. We’ve published four issues this first year, with each being extremely well received. With more residents becoming aware of the complete lack of local content in the Laurel Leader, they genuinely look forward to our paper, which focuses exclusively on our hometown.
It also occurred to me recently that the Laurel History Boys’ website, which I cobbled together way back in 2015, was long overdue for a refresh. I’m still making a few tweaks, but I’m happy to announce that a bigger and better laurelhistory.com has officially launched!
I’m especially pleased with how much better it showcases the breadth of work that we do. In addition to better organizing our individual pages for the columns written by Kevin Leonard, Pete Lewnes, and myself, we’ve added a ton of content.
We’ve expanded the History Contributors section to include some fantastic galleries of vintage Laurel photos from the likes of the Berman family and the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad’s collections, and have done a better job of highlighting our many other projects and initiatives—including nearly 30 different free public presentation topics, Voices of Laurel, current and upcoming book projects, videos, and much more.
One such book project I’ve been quietly working on (and we’ll hopefully be in a position to have printed in the new year) is the long awaited follow-up to my Lost Laurel book, and it’s shaping up to be an amazing overview of the retail history of Laurel.
Aside from our book sales, everything we do is free, and we truly bring history to YOU. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we weren’t awarded any of the grants we applied to this year, which was disappointing considering it was our first time applying as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization (and the process itself can be incredibly confusing and time consuming). It’s also frustrating because I see on a daily basis how much we do—with far less than many of the larger organizations who did receive grant funding. That being said, the experience has prompted me to be a bit more aggressive in our future fundraising endeavors.
So, if you’re planning to donate to any of the many worthwhile nonprofit organizations this season (Giving Tuesday is this week, by the way), I hope you’ll consider making a tax deductible gift to The Laurel History Boys, Inc. You’ll find a donation link at the bottom of each page on our new website.
As always, thank you for your interest and for letting us share with you these wonderful pieces of our hometown’s history!