A rich vein of American industrial history flows through Savage, MD. Named after Philadelphia merchant John Savage, the town is located in the southeastern corner of Howard County, Maryland about 12 miles south of Baltimore and 20 miles north of Washington, D.C.
In 1822, Amos Williams and his brothers from Baltimore borrowed money from Philadelphia merchant John Savage in order to charter the Savage Manufacturing Company. Maryland’s cotton milling industry, which flourished in the 19th and early 20th centuries, produced the majority of the nation’s cotton duck, a type of canvas used for a variety of products. Harnessing the water power on the falls of the Little and Middle Patuxent rivers, The Mill transformed Savage into an important manufacturing center during the textile industry’s heyday.
Under the ownership of William Henry Baldwin, Jr. and family from 1859 to 1911, the Mill constructed a number of buildings to meet the housing, economic, religious, intellectual and social needs of the Mill’s several hundred workers. Many of these buildings are still in existence today, serving as a prime example of civic planning during the industrial age.
After the Mill ceased operation in 1947, Baltimore businessman Harry H. Heim converted it into an ornament manufacturing plant which produced a third of the country’s hand-blown Christmas ornaments, including ones which graced the 1948 National Christmas Tree. Envisioning Savage as a year-round Christmas village, Heim enlisted the townspeople’s help, redid many of the historic homes, and added a toy store and live reindeer. The grand opening of Santa Heim, Merrieland attracted tens of thousands of visitors, many of whom were transported by special trains from Washington and Baltimore. After just three years, the venture went bankrupt, and the Mill closed.
The Mill was used as a warehouse for the National Store Fixture Company and housed several shops until it was sold to Savage Limited Partnership in 1984, and reopened as a collection of restaurants, antique dealers, artists, and specialty shops. With funding from the State of Maryland and Howard County, renovations were completed in 1992. Since then, the rejuvenated, transformed Savage Mill has become one of Howard County's leading tourist attractions.
The Savage Mill Historic District, which includes the mill complex and several blocks of former mill workers' homes, was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The inhabitants of this small, vibrant town are proud of its long and rich history. The spirit of civic planning undertaken by the original Mill owners is reflected throughout the community still today, contributing to Savage’s small-town charm and unified character. The community is dedicated to preserving its unique historic assets and integrating them into the fabric of modern life.
View the links under SAVAGE SITES to see more about the Savage Community