- Located in the area of the Swampy Slough Grass Belt, Laurens was settled by the Western Town Lot Company, a subsidiary of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway System Company.
- Organized on December 21, 1880, Laurens was platted in 1881 and was dedicated in Pocahontas on December 24, 1881. Laurens was designated a village.
Laurens “100”: Chronicle of our first 100 years 1881-1981
- Laurens was named in honor of Henry and John Laurens, father and son, two French Huguenots who became residents of Charleston, SC, and who were patriotic and loyal to the Colonial cause during the Revolution.
The Pioneer History of Pocahontas County, Iowa, Pastor Robert E.
- Laurens claimed 700 residents before the turn of the twentieth century. The 2000 census population was 1476.
- In 1899 the town had a problem with “too many young people on the street at night.” The city fathers passed a curfew making it unlawful for boys and girls under 18 years of age to be on the streets after 7 p.m. in the fall and winter, and after 8 p.m. in the spring and summer unless accompanied by their parents or guardians. The first offense fine was 50 cents and the second offense fine was $1.00 and imprisonment from one to ten days.
Laurens Legacy, H.A. Ducommun
EARLY COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
- Early settlers enjoyed hunting and fishing at Swan Lake and Muskrat Lake located 1 ½ miles north of Laurens.
- The early community of Laurens enjoyed the steamboat, canoeing and resort attractions on Swan Lake.
- In 1911, Pocahontas County drained both lakes into Cedar Creek; therefore the recreational playground became farmland. The county reclaimed Swan Lake back to wetlands in 2003
Once in 100 Years, H. A. Ducommun
- A 1901 city map details the Sunnyside Race Track in the southeast part of Laurens. This was used on Sundays and holidays. It had an amphitheater, race track, ball diamond, and grandstand. Along with horse racing and pony cart racing, they also had wrestling matches. In one match, champion wrestler Frank Gotch from Humboldt wrestled his teacher and mentor Farmer Burns.
Laurens Centennial Tour of Homes and Landmarks