Long before I ever started using Lightroom, I've been organising my photos by year and location in a folder on my hard drive on the Mac. I want to use Lightroom to edit and clean up the photos. The only way I can copy the existing file structure is to create an Album in Lightroom and then drag the photos into that album.
That seems to be a tedious process since I have folders dated back to 2005.
Is there a simpler way in which i can replicate my folder structure on the desktop and "import" photos and folders into Lightroom?
Lightroom Classic allows you at "Add" folders in their current location. But Lightroom, being cloud based, has no equivalent.
Your best bet is to import and organize one folder or group of folders at a time. Work in bite sized chunks which both makes it manageable, and also allows you to spot and resolve organizational issues as they arise.
When you migrate a Lightroom Classic catalog, all your collections become albums. This is what you can use. If you drag a folder from the folder panel into the collections panel, then Lightroom Classic will create a collection based on that folder. So create collection structure first this way, and then migrate. If you do not use Lightroom Classic right now, you can still do this by installing the trial version.