Savage Mill Historic District
Savage, Howard County
The Savage Mill Historic District comprises the industrial complex of Savage Mill and the village of workers' housing to the north of the complex. The mill complex consists of eight principal buildings and several others of more minor associations. The oldest structure is the stone carding and spinning building, probably built between 1816 and 1823. It originally housed all the activities of the industry until the mill was expanded before 1881. Four stories tall, 16 bays long, and 2 bays deep, the building has 12/12 sash windows. A brick tower with Romanesque overtones was added before 1881, with a corbeled brick cornice and pyramidal roof with shed dormers. Other buildings include the weaving shed, preparation area, paymaster's office, and several early-20th century warehouses and power plants. The mill has been converted into artists' studios, antique shops, and a restaurant. The mill village consists primarily of brick workers' houses built at various times throughout the 19th century. The earliest of these appear to be those on the north side of Washington Street and the north and south sides of Baltimore Street, between Commerce and Foundry Streets. With the exception of one building, which was demolished in the 20th century and replaced with a modern rancher, all of these are recorded in the Hopkins' Atlas of 1878. All of the buildings in Savage, most especially those appearing to have been built prior to 1850, are of a basic Federal style, built of common bond brick, uniform in overall structure appearance and detail. All contain a minimum of two dwelling units, the largest four. Most windows have 6/6 lights with flat arches. At the south end of Commercial Street, on the southeast corner of its intersection with Foundry Street, is a handsome rectangular stone building with a jerkinhead roof, built about 1926-30 as a community center. It is a large one-story structure of rough uncoursed fieldstone, four bays in length and three bays wide at the gable facade.
Savage Mill is an important early-19th century industrial landmark. It is one of the oldest known surviving textile mills in Maryland, providing physical evidence that New England did not monopolize that industry in the last century. In fact, cotton production in Maryland began as early as 1808. The extensive additions to the original stone mill illustrate the growth of one participant in the industry which in the late 19th century counted on Maryland for the majority of the nation's cotton duck. The site of Savage Mill on the rapids of the Little Patuxent River had been used for mill operations since the mid 18th century. In the early 1820s the Savage Manufacturing Company purchased the site, erected a factory, and installed machinery. John Savage of Philadelphia funded the company which still bears his name. The complex then included a mill, 500 acres of land, a warehouse, a flour mill, and a saw mill. When the company began producing cotton duck, 22 other Maryland factories were engaged in the same activity. By 1825 the mill employed 200 people including women and children, and 120 power looms. The complex included several additions: a grist mill, an iron foundry, and a machine shop. The company was sold to William H. Baldwin, Jr. in 1847, who owned the firm Woodward, Baldwin and Company, a well established Baltimore dry goods marketing company. Under Baldwin's management the enterprise at Savage prospered. The iron foundry resumed operations concentrating on the production of cotton machinery. The majority of the workers houses in the village date from this period, as did the dry goods store and grocery. In the early 20th century, the company became Baldwin, Leslie and Company, and the mill was expanded in anticipation of wartime needs. A decade later the Baldwin family erected a stone community hall for the town and constructed a large group of tenant houses. By 1941 the company employed 325 people. Under wartime production the mill produced 400,000 pounds of cotton duck a month. In 1948 the mill closed, and in the 1950s it spent a brief period being used to manufacture Christmas ornaments before closing permanently. The mill has now been converted for use as a series of artists studios, shops, antiques stores, and a restaurant.