History of Laurel, Virginia

The Laurel, Virginia community, first named Hungary Station, was the location of a spur railroad line to the coalfields in western Henrico County. During the Civil War the station was burned, and Colonial Ulrich Dahlgren's body was secretly buried there in March, 1864 (later re-interred in Philadelphia). In 1890, the Laurel Industrial School was established to offer wayward boys' an alternative to imprisonment. It was Henrico County's first public school and later became the Virginia Industrial School. The complex consisted of two dormitory buildings (one of which is still standing), an administrative building, and multiple farm buildings. When the reformatory was moved in 1920-22 to its' present location as the Beaumont Learning Center (Powhatan Co.), the community remained active. The Laurel Industrial School Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (added 1987) and the Virginia Historical Landmarks Register.

The A.A. Harvey General Store (now Laurel Gallery) was built c1910 to serve the community. Over the years the building has undergone several transformations...from general store to housing to the Crystal Ice Co and the Laurel Post Office (Lillian Merkle, Postmaster). The building was completely restored in 1991 to its present use as the Laurel Gallery. Efforts were made by the preservationist, Robert Bluford, to ensure that the building be returned to its original style.

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