Laurel is located halfway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. In the 1960s it was a quiet suburban town still ringed with thick woods of maple, birch, and pine. Most of the people who lived there then were military families or Federal employees.
Laurel's main claim to fame back then was horse-racing: the Laurel International Racetrack. In later years the town made the news in a more infamous way. In 1972 Alabama governor George Wallace, a presidential candidate at the time, was shot and paralyzed by a would-be assassin, and in more recent history, some of the terrorists involved in 9-11 were arrested in a Laurel apartment.
The town has changed a great deal in the past 40 years. When I went back recently, I hardly recognized it. Housing developments and apartment complexes have replaced the woods, and there are chain restaurants everywhere.
If you look hard, though, there are still historic landmarks like St. Mary's Church (shown here) and the Laurel Museum.