Savage Mill

Savage Mill

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The Savage Mill is a historic cotton mill
Cotton mill
A cotton mill is a factory that houses spinning and weaving machinery. Typically built between 1775 and 1930, mills spun cotton which was an important product during the Industrial Revolution....

 complex in Savage
Savage, Maryland
Savage is a historic town located in Howard County, Maryland, about south of Baltimore and north of Washington, D.C. It is situated close to the city of Laurel and to the planned community of Columbia.A rich vein of American industrial history lies in Savage...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, which has been turned into a complex of shops and restaurants. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 in 1974. It is located in the Savage Mill Historic District
Savage Mill Historic District
The Savage Mill Historic District is a national historic district located at Savage, Howard County, Maryland. The district comprises the industrial complex of Savage Mill and the village of workers' housing to the north of the complex....

. Buildings in the complex date from 1822 to 1916.

The cotton mill


The mill was started in the 1820s by Amos Williams and his three brothers. 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
Cotton duck
Cotton duck , also simply duck, sometimes duck cloth or duck canvas, commonly called "canvas" outside the textile industry, is a heavy, plain woven cotton fabric...

, used for sailcloth
Sailcloth
Sails have been made from cloth for all of recorded history. Typically sails were made from flax , hemp or cotton in various forms including canvas. However, modern sails are rarely made from natural fibers. Most sails are made from synthetic fibers ranging from low-cost nylon or polyester to...

 and a wide variety of other uses. Power was originally obtained by damming the Little Patuxent River
Patuxent River
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. There are three main river drainages for central Maryland: the Potomac River to the west passing through Washington D.C., the Patapsco River to the northeast passing through Baltimore, and the Patuxent River between...

, 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
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was one of the oldest railroads in the United States and the first common carrier railroad. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which...

, 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.

After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the demand for canvas dropped considerably, and the mill shut down in 1947. By this time the complex consisted of twelve buildings.

The Christmas village


After the mill closed it was bought by Harry Heim, who converted it into a Christmas Display Village. It featured live reindeer, a one ring circus, and a miniature train which carried guests to the mill from a parking lot on U.S. Route 1
U.S. Route 1
U.S. Route 1 is a major north–south U.S. Highway that serves the East Coast of the United States. It runs 2,377 miles from Fort Kent, Maine at the Canadian border south to Key West, Florida. U.S. 1 generally parallels Interstate 95, though it is significantly farther west between...

. This business was relatively short lived, and for some years the mill was used for warehousing.

Renovation


In 1985 the mill reopened as a collection of restaurants, specialty shops, and antique dealers. 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.

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