Laurel is a city in Maryland, located almost midway between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore on the banks of the Patuxent River. While the city limits are entirely in northern Prince George’s County, outlying developments extend into Anne Arundel County and Howard County. Founded as a mill town in the early 19th century, the arrival of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1835 expanded local industry and later enabled the city to become an early commuter town for Washington and Baltimore workers. Largely residential today, the city maintains a historic district centered on its Main Street, highlighting its industrial past.
The Department of Defense is a prominent presence in the Laurel area today, with the Fort Meade Army base, the National Security Agency, and Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory all located nearby. Laurel Park, a thoroughbred horse racetrack, is located just outside city limits.