|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
Savage Mill Tower, December 2008
|Location||SW corner of Foundry Rd. and Washington St., Savage, Maryland|
|Architectural style||No Style Listed|
|NRHP Reference #||
|Added to NRHP||April 18, 1974|
The Savage Mill is a historic cotton mill complex in Savage, Maryland, which has been turned into a complex of shops and restaurants. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It is located in the Savage Mill Historic District. Buildings in the complex date from 1822 to 1916.
The cotton mill
The mill was started in the 1820s by Amos, Cumberland and George Williams. They named it and the town in which it still stands after John Savage, who lent them the money to start the business. The main product was cotton duck, used for sailcloth and a wide variety of other uses. Power was originally obtained by damming the Little Patuxent River, which runs adjacent to the mill property. In later years steam engines were used. The mill was served by a spur off the Patuxent branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and in the 1870s a Bollman Truss Bridge was moved to the spur. This bridge survives and is the only one of its kind left.
The oldest remaining mill structure is the stone carding and spinning building, probably built between 1816 and 1823. The mill was expanded before 1881, and that expansion included the brick tower with Romanesque overtones. Other buildings include the weaving shed, preparation area, paymaster's office, and several early-20th century warehouses and power plants.
In 1859, the Baldwin family took over operations as the Savage Manufacturing Company, purchasing the land and factory for $42,000. The mill was managed by Caroll Baldwin from 1905 to 1918. The company merged becoming the Baldwin, Leslie and Company. In 1918 the company was renamed Leslie Evans and Company after Baldwin's death.
Throughout World War II the mill produced heavy duck for canvas, hoses, refining and sails and community power from the waterwheel. The demand for canvas dropped considerably after the war, and the mill was scheduled to be shut down 1 January 1948. At time the 400 acre complex employed 372, consisted of twelve industrial buildings and 98 houses owned and rented by the mill.
The Christmas village
After the mill closed it was bought by Harry Heim, who converted it into Santa Novelties, manufacturing Christmas ornaments, featuring a Christmas Display Village named "Santa Heim" which opened in December 1948. It featured live reindeer, a one ring circus, a turrented castle, and a miniature train which carried guests to the mill from a parking lot on U.S. Route 1. The Carol Baldwin Hall was used for sales of Christmas products.
Production included 65 million Christmas tree globes produced onsite with 400 workers.
This business was relatively short lived. Efforts to rename the town to Santa Heim did not go through, as did the plan for a hotel and artificial lake with a waterfall. In 1950 the mill was purchased by Albert Winer who used for warehousing by the National Store Fixture Company.
In 1985 Albert Winer's son Jay Winer founded Savage Limited Partnership and reopened the mill as a collection of restaurants, specialty shops, and antique dealers. In 1991, The State of Maryland and Howard County loaned Savage Mill Limited Partnership $900,000. The partnership declared bankruptcy in 1994. This has been expanded over the years to encompass five of the larger buildings in the complex. Plans for the future include renovation of the boiler and wheel buildings in order to allow visitors to view some of the mill machinery. Limited changes were made to the fabric of the buildings, and the original timbers and iron fittings can be seen throughout.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15.
- "Savage Mill Historic District". Maryland Historical Trust. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- Barbara W. Feaga. Howard's Roads to the Past. p. 67.
- "Nation's Oldest Cotton Mill to Shut Down". The Washington Post. 3 December 1947.
- "Savage Hums with Activity". The Washington Post. 28 November 1948.
- The Howard County Historical Society. Howard County. p. 112.
- "Howard County Mill-to-Mall Developers Ask for Break on Loan". The Washington Post. 20 November 1997.
- Savage Mill Historic District, Howard County, Inventory No.: HO-42, including photo in 2003, at Maryland Historical Trust website
- Savage Mill website: History
- Historical Savage Mill from Baltimore Stories