Laurel‘s early days mirror the growth and evolution of small industrial towns across the Unites States. An 1811 grist mill evolved into an 1840’s cotton mill employing more than 700 workers. The town was originally called Laurel Factory, in recognition of its status as a mill town. Prior to English settlement, the area now called Laurel is known to have been the site for Native American camps, and a number of artifacts have been found by local citizens.
The city government supports an annual LakeFest in May and Independence Day celebration each July. Since 1981, the Laurel Board of Trade has sponsored a Main Street Festival (held on Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend) each May, and since 1995 a RiverFest each October. The Montpelier Mansion grounds have hosted an annual festival the first weekend in May since 1971, updated in 2007 to focus on an “herb, tea and arts” theme.
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