History of Savage Mill
In 1820, Amos Williams and his three brothers borrowed $20,000 from their friend John Savage to start a textile weaving business here on the banks of the Little Patuxent River. The water from the river flowed over a huge 30 foot water wheel which powered the machines that wove the cloth. They named the business Savage Mill after their generous friend. It functioned as a working textile mill from 1822 through 1947.
The main product woven here in the 1800s was Canvas. This lightweight, yet strong, material was used in making sails for the clipper ships that sailed in and out of Baltimore Harbor. The canvas woven at Savage Mill was also used for making: tents, cannon covers, and other supplies for Civil War armies during the 1860s; painted backdrops for the first silent movies filmed in Hollywood from 1890 to 1900; tents, cots, truck covers, and transport bags used by U.S. soldiers in Europe during both World War I and II.
Between 1947 and 1950, the Mill, which had grown to 12 different buildings, was bought by Mr. Harry Heim who turned the entire comples into a Christmas Display illage. He would dress up as Saint Nick and was called Santa Heim by all who visited the Mill. Reindeer were imported to graze in the orchards west of the Mill; Christmas tree ornaments were made; and a miniature B&O Railroad train transported visiters to and from the Route 1 parking area. There was also a one-rign circus in the huge New Weave Room, comoplete with elephants, trapeze artists, and a carousel. Interest was great and traffic increased, but Mr. Heim's ideas were bigger than his pocketbook and he went bankrupt in 1950.
The Bollman Truss semi-suspension bridge which spans the Little Patuxent River was brought here in 1860 when the B&O Railroad serviced the Mill. This style of bridge was use all over the United States and Europe, but was made of wrought and cast iron which rusted out in all locations but one. The last standing Bollman Truss semi-suspension bridge in the world is here at Savage Mill and is recognized as a national treasure.
Today, Savage Mill no longer weaves material. The complex has been restored and renovated and is now in use as a marketplace filled with unique specialty shops, fine art and craft studios, and renowned dealers of quality antiques and collectibles.