It’s been more than four years since Ben and Erin Napier, HGTV home renovation sweethearts, introduced the town they adore to America. Laurel, Mississippi, reminds visitors that even the smallest, most unhurried kind of place has something special to offer.

“I think when people see the show [“Home Town”] they see people sitting on their front porch drinking iced tea, and they see it’s simple, it’s quiet and nobody’s fussing at each other,” said Johnny Magee, who was born and raised in Laurel and has been its mayor for eight years.

Today, the old timber town of almost 19,000 people is known for its oak-lined sidewalks, brick roadways, a charming mix of restaurants and inspired, locally owned shops.

Founded in 1882, Laurel was named after the laurel thickets surrounding it. Roughly 90 miles southeast of Jackson, the area also was filled with loblolly pine trees, and made its name in logging.

At the turn of the 20th century, Laurel was a prosperous town with a streetcar system and a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., which was eventually named for engineer William Mason, who came to Laurel in the 1920s and invented Masonite, a hardboard made from wood chips that is used to make doors, walls and floors.

The Lindsey Eight Wheel Log Wagon, for transporting timber, was invented in Laurel in the early 20th century.

However, the logging industry waned in the mid-20th century, and Laurel’s downtown businesses struggled.

That started to change in 2008 when the newlywed Napiers moved to Erin’s hometown of Laurel. The couple eventually bought a 1925 Craftsman-style cottage and restored it. They also got involved in Laurel Main Street, whose aim was to bring businesses back to downtown.

Today, Magee said, people from as far away as South Africa and New Zealand visit Laurel, and he gives most of the credit to the Napiers’ TV show.

“When you walk downtown at the noon hour, the sidewalks are full of people,” Magee said, estimating that the town gets about 200 visitors a day.

He said most people visit to catch a glimpse of Ben and Erin, and sometimes they see the couple shopping, dining or walking their dogs around town.

Visitors also admire some of the 50-plus homes they have renovated, most of which are along 4th to 7th avenues, Euclid Avenue and Homewood Drive.

Fans of the show also shop at Laurel Mercantile Co., the town’s old dry goods store that the couple restored and reopened with a group of friends. The store is stocked with American-made goods such as cake stands, floral prints from local artists, cast-iron skillets and Ben’s heirloom pieces that are often featured in the historic homes the couple restores.

Visitors also can stop by the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, named for the original owner of the Georgian Revival home in which it is housed. The museum opened in 1923 and is the state’s oldest art museum.

For information, visit laurelms.com or thenewstateofjones.com.