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Savage is a historic town located in Howard County, Maryland, about 12 miles (19 km) south of Baltimore and 20 miles (32 km) north of Washington, D.C. It is situated close to the city of Laurel and to the planned community of Columbia.
The lands of Savage were first settled around 1650. Colonel Henry Ridgely surveyed the land around Savage Mill and nearby Annapolis Junction in 1685 naming the tract "Ridgely's Forrest".
A rich vein of American industrial history lies in Savage. When the textile industry was in its heyday, Savage was an important manufacturing center, its mills harnessing the water power on the falls of the Little and Middle Patuxent Rivers.
The town was named for John Savage, a Philadelphia merchant with interest in a mill on the falls of the Patuxent. In 1822 he and his associates, the Williams brothers, chartered the Savage Manufacturing Company. The company produced sails for the clipper ships that sailed out of Baltimore Harbor, in addition to a wide variety of other cotton products.
The cotton milling industry started in Maryland in the 18th century and flourished in the 19th century. Cotton was shipped cheaply from Southern ports and hauled overland by mule and oxen teams to the mills before rail transportation served Savage. In 1835 the Washington branch of the B&O Railroad was completed, and Savage Station was established on the line about a mile southeast of the present mill. A spur of the B&O was laid to the Savage factory in 1887, and it was at this time that the famous Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge was moved to its present site from another location. Originally built in 1852, it was one of about 100 on the B&O line. Beloved by railroad buffs, the iron truss bridge is the only one of its type in the world, and, along with the Savage Mill, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Parts of the Savage Mill are said to date from about 1820, and historians have recorded that the mill once had an iron foundry that made many kinds of machinery, specializing in textile manufacturing. The operation of the mill was greatly expanded in 1880 with the installation of steam power. Army uniforms, field tents, and vehicle covers were made.
A renovation program began in 1984 that established Savage Mill as a major permanent marketplace. With its new role as a festive showcase for quality arts, crafts, antiques, and specialty items, Savage Mill is more than a "shopping mill." It's a leisurely place to explore, enjoy, and to appreciate the history of a quiet mill town on the banks of the Middle Patuxent River.
The Savage Mill Manor House is found down the street from the Mill and has also been completely renovated. It is now used to host weddings, parties and special events.
Carroll Baldwin Hall once housed the Savage branch of the Howard County Library. It was built in the early 1920s as a memorial to Carroll Baldwin, former president of the manufacturing company. The Baldwins managed the company from 1859 to 1911.
Singer/songwriter Benny Mardones — who holds an unusual place in United States recording history as a "one-hit wonder" who actually hit the Top 20 twice, in 1980 and 1989, with the same recording of the same song, "Into the Night" — was raised in Savage but was born in Cleveland, Ohio.