Tag Archives: Mountain Laurel

The Mountain Laurel

Virginia Chronicle is currently home to over 50 newspapers online. We are particularly happy to include late 20th century newspapers such as the Virginia Farm Bureau News as part of the array of titles that provide rich content, documenting the events and lives of citizens throughout the commonwealth.

Main Page Mt. Laurel

Another newspaper/journal of note from the late 20th century is the Mountain Laurel: The Journal of Mountain Life, a publication that for years recorded engaging stories, both big and small, about the people living in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains in an area known as the Meadows of Dan.

The Library’s online collection matches the print run of the Mountain Laurel: 1983 – 1995.

But the Mountain Laurel lives on online at http://www.mtnlaurel.com/.

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Bob Heafner, one of the founders of the Mountain Laurel, continues to add stories and photographs to the site and with each contribution the journal provides yet another tantalizing glimpse of mountain life.

I don’t think the founders and editors of the Mountain Laurel would be offended if it is said that the journal is redolent of the best that the Foxfire series had to offer over the years.  By reading the pages of the ML online at Virginia Chronicle or at the mtnlaurel.com, get ready to learn a few practical things about living in the mountains and to soak up a bit of timeless wisdom from voices that stretch back generations.

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For example, I was curious about a couple of the more arcane food items that I have heard about over the years: ramps and poke sallet. Sure enough, a search on Virginia Chronicle of the pages of the Mountain Laurel gave me a nice starting point for additional research when it comes to local usage of each … read more »

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Journey to the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains with the Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel masthead, 1987

I would like to introduce you to the Mountain Laurel, a unique paper from Meadows of Dan, Virginia. The Mountain Laurel warned readers that it would “not keep you informed of world events” but instead sought to “portray mountain people with honor and distinction”, hence the double-meaning in the title: a laurel is not only a native flower but also means “honor and distinction”.

 

Front page of the first issue in March 1983

Distinctly Appalachian, the paper introduced readers to Glendon Boyd, wood carver and artisan rake-maker, and it told the tale of the man who once fell out of his cornfield and broke his leg because the land there was so steep. It would keep readers up to date with a report from the Floyd County Public Library which once resided in the basement of the Floyd courthouse. Readers clamored to contribute their own stories and memories making the paper a rich and entertaining resource full of oral history.  The Mountain Laurel has been collecting and printing the lore, history, culture, and happenings of their Blue Ridge Mountain community since Bob and Charlotte Heafner and Susan Thigpen set up shop with an electronic typewriter in a rented farmhouse in March 1983.

A few years ago, Bob Heafner generously lent his collection of the Mountain Laurel to the Library of Virginia so it could be preserved on microfilm. Issues for March 1983 through Winter 1995 are available on Film 2025A.

The Mountain Laurel maintains a website for the journal with many transcribed articles available and they are still accepting submissions of readers’ stories.  Please visit mtnlaurel.com for more of these wonderful stories.… read more »

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