Savage    

Norma and I have been living in Savage since December 2009. It is a great little town and there are many things we truly love about Savage that inspired me to create this web page.

The photo above is the Bollman Truss Bridge in Savage, Howard County, Maryland. I took it with my drone.
Wendel Bollman was an American self-taught civil engineer, best known for his iron railway bridges. Only one of his patented "Bollman truss" bridges survives, the Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge in Savage, Maryland.
- from Wikipedia - Wendel Bollman

ActivitiesOpen accordion icon
For a small town, Savage has a lot going on.

On the first Saturday in June, we have Savage Fest, our town festival. Here, you might find Brian with his chickens or bees, Dennis recruiting folks to join the Savage Historical Society, or me making my giant bubbles. Below, dancers put on a show. I took this picture with my drone.
Dancers performing beside Carroll Baldwin Hall

In the summer, there are often free outdoor concerts at Baldwin Common.

In October, you'll find Sara organizing the Savage 7k Run and me leading the one-mile historic walk which occurs simultaneously. Below, I am telling folks about the Bollman Truss Bridge on October 16, 2022.
Me at the Bollman Truss Bridge leading the historic walking tour, October 16, 2022

In December, the holiday bridge lighting draws hundreds of people, including some local politicians.
Lit up Bollman Truss Bridge, December 4, 2021

Savage Mill, a historic cotton mill turned into a complex of shops and restaurants, has been known to host bluegrass concerts, an Irish music festival, and holiday vendor fairs.

Carroll Baldwin Hall, a memorial building built in 1922, sponsors numerous activities such as dancing, candidate forums, and paint events. In the below snapshot, our artistic neighbor, Andi, shows her painting titled "Savage Woodland Tunnel" at the Call for Artists: Savage Paint Out event on April 22, 2023.
Andi with her painting, April 22, 2023
Close accordion icon

Chickens and BeesOpen accordion icon
Savage resides in Howard County, Maryland, an area known for being rather progressive when it comes to raising chickens (chix) and bees in residential backyards. I won't describe this here but if you want to know more, see what I've written at
  • Zoning for Residential Chickens
  • Zoning for Beekeeping

  • Howard County is also a designated Bee City.
    On September 6, 2019, County Executive Calvin Ball announced Howard County’s participation in Bee City and launched a new pesticide initiative. Howard County’s Bee City-USA mission is to galvanize our communities to sustain pollinators, vital to our ecosystems and the future of our planet, by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free to nearly free of pesticides.
    - from Live Green Howard - Howard County Becomes a Bee City

    Raising chickens and bees has given me greater appreciation for our environment and food supply. I am very happy to be living in a place that understands and supports these activities. Below are my chickens on October 15, 2022.
    Chickens in my back yard, October 15, 2022
    Close accordion icon

    Dog FriendlyOpen accordion icon
    My neighbor, Dena, is a K-9 Lifesavers volunteer. She shelters several dogs at her house. We got Daphne through her. Sara helps Dena by fostering a few of these rescues. In a small town like Savage, folks looking for a dog know who to talk to and many of us dog owners end up befriending each other.

    Savage has strong canine connections. Many of our town events are dog-friendly...you'll see water bowls at several of our outdoor activities. Even Savage Mill allows dogs inside. In the below photo, some of us brought our four-footed companions to see Santa at the Mill.
    Santa Claus with four dogs at Savage Mill, December 3, 2022

    We don't have a dog park in town but we do have plenty of wooded trails.
    Four dogs running near the Little Patuxent River, April 6, 2019

    Savage has a lot of happy dogs.
    September 14, 2019
    Close accordion icon

    Pre-historyOpen accordion icon
    Scholars define prehistory as events that occurred before the existence of written records in a given culture or society. History refers to the time period after the invention of written records in a given culture or society.
    - from Khan Academy - World History

    Archaeologists believe the Piscataway Native Americans lived and/or hunted on the land that now defines our town.
    They spoke Algonquian Piscataway, a dialect of Nanticoke. One of their neighboring tribes, with whom they merged after a massive decline of population following two centuries of interactions with European settlers, called them the Conoy.
    - from Wikipedia - Piscataway people

    The The Indian Tribes of the State of Maryland map shows where the Piscataway Conoy once resided.

    In 2023, a neighbor showed me a 28mm x 18mm quartz arrowhead which her son found on their property in the 1980s. Based on its size, shape, and the fact that it is made of quartz, I am quite certain it is a Piscataway arrowhead. The next closest tribe would have been the Susquehannocks and their arrowheads looked much different.
    Piscataway arrowhead
    Close accordion icon

    HistoryOpen accordion icon
    The cotton mill that currently stands as Savage Mill began operation in 1822. It was founded by the Williams brothers using money loaned to them by John Savage, a close friend of one of the brothers and a director of the U.S. Bank of Philadelphia. I took the below picture with my drone.
    Savage Mill drone photo

    Like many cotton mills, the town grew around it. Today, there are many historic structures in and around Savage that are still standing:
  • Bollman Truss bridge: This was built elsewhere in 1852 and later moved to the current location 1887. Some sources disagree on these dates but what they do agree on is that this is the last Bollman Truss bridge still standing.
  • Home of Joshua Barney: Barney was born in Baltimore in 1759. He saw 35 naval engagements during the Revolutionary War and fought with the Marines in Bladensburg where he engaged in heavy hand-to-hand combat with the British during the War of 1812. This house is not open to the public.
  • Millrace: On the north side of the Little Patuxent River, one can find remnants of the millrace used to divert water from the dam (not longer standing) to the mill to turn its water wheel which no longer exists.
  • Mansion House: Built between the years 1859 and 1878, the Mansion House was used as a summer home for the Baldwin family. It was also known as the "Company House" or the "Proprietor's House."
  • Masonic Hall: The first school in Savage was operated in what is today the Masonic Hall. This building was constructed in 1897 to meet the social needs of the Savage Mill Village. It served as a community hall, hosting various dinners and gatherings.
  • Savage Mill Manor: Built in 1894, this was used as the residence of the superintendent of the mill and was thus also known as the "Superintendents House."
  • Methodist Church: In 1888, the mill gave the land, built, and furnished "the brick church" which today is known as the United Methodist Church of Savage. This church contains a bell made by Henry Hooper and Company in 1838. The Boston foundry in which it was made was started by Paul Revere after the Revolutionary War. Paul Revere's son, Isaac, later continued making bells along with Henry Hooper. This is the oldest or second oldest bell made by Henry Hooper in the United States [depending on your source].

  • After the mill, perhaps the most recognizable historic structure in town is the Carroll Baldwin Memorial Hall. The Williams brothers sold the mill to William Henry Baldwin in 1859. Upon William Baldwin's death in 1893, the majority of stock was left to his son Carroll Baldwin, who became president of the mill in 1905. Carroll passed away in 1918. In 1919, Carroll's sister and the new firm erected a community hall on a site called Savage Grove as a memorial to Carroll. It was built like the original cotton mill using native stone from the river. In a sermon delivered on Thanksgiving Day 1922, the Reverend Charles W. Baldwin, Carroll's uncle, dedicated the Carroll Baldwin Memorial Hall as expressed on a memorial tablet which read, "For the welfare and happiness of the whole community."
    Carroll Baldwin Memorial Hall, January 31, 2019

    If you want to learn more about my town, see Savage Mill - Historic Savage Walking Tour or come on the walking tour I lead at the annual Savage 7k Run.
    Me leading the historic walking tour on October 16, 2022
    Close accordion icon

    PeopleOpen accordion icon
    What makes the people of Savage so special? In my opinion, it is our "sense of community," pride, and volunteerism.

    Savage is a small town, although it often doesn't feel that way because the population density of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is such that Savage just seamlessly flows from Jessup to Laurel, with no open space to separate them. But when people move to Savage, they realize they are living in a place that is small enough that you start to see a lot of the same familiar faces at local events or just walking through the neighborhood. After awhile, you start reaching out, talking to, and then working towards common causes with the other "Savages," thereby building a sense of community. Here are some of the faces you might see if you come to an event in my town.
    Folks in Savage near the ruins of the old dam, April 6, 2019

    It is hard to be proud unless you have something special that sets you apart from the rest. Savage's history and its many still-standing historic structures makes it unique. Our Savage Mill Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized by experts from the Smithsonian Institution as an outstanding example of a 19th century manufacturing center. It is also one of Howard County's leading tourist attractions. That is definitely something to be proud of. Below are some of the town's residents at the historic Bollman Truss Bridge on December 1, 2018.
    Walkers at the Bollman Truss bridge, December 1, 2018

    Unlike many neighborhoods, Savage does not have a homeowners association (HOA). Nobody with any authority will tell you what color you can or can't paint your door. I've lived in places with HOAs and they can be both good and bad. I know some places in our county pay a lot of money to their HOA, but they also get a lot in return. Their communities have elaborate activities paid for with their dues. Savage, on the other hand, relies on its volunteers, many of whom are outstanding leaders that inspire others to participate. Volunteering put Norma and I on the fast track for getting to know our neighbors and build friendships. In the below photo, residents of Savage participate in our town's Yule Tide event on December 3, 2022. If there are baked goods at a Savage event, you can almost be guaranteed they are homemade.
    Volunteers at Baldwin Common for Yule Tide event, December 3, 2022
    Close accordion icon

    TrailsOpen accordion icon
    There aren't many places that one could walk a short distance from their home and be on wooded trails where there are few other people...but Savage is such a place. This is what I love most about my town...its close proximity and ease of getting out in nature.

    The Patuxent Branch Trail goes from Savage to Lake Elkhorn in Columbia. If you're looking for a longer walk, easy bike ride, or cross country ski route, this is a great place. Be sure to check out The Patuxent Branch Trail - Connecting the Industrial Past of Guilford with the Present.

    In 1887, the Patuxent Branch of the B&O Railroad was built by extending the Savage factory spur to serve a granite quarry in Guilford. A one-mile section of this railroad was purchased by Howard County in 1978. It became the recreational rail trail that we now know as the Savage Mill Trail. Here, you can find some dramatic whitewater views of the Little Patuxent River.
    Whitewater view of the Little Patuxent River from the Savage Mill Trail, January 31, 2019

    If you want to get a little deeper in the woods, I suggest checking out Wincopin. I like to visit the vernal pool and look for spotted salamander eggs. One of my favorite spots is a place I call "Meditation Beach" which is a sandy area at a very peaceful section of the Middle Patuxent River. At Wincopin, you might find balanced rocks or a chainsaw-carved bear, both of which I have been told are the work of local artist, Pete Moon.
    Daphne and I with a chainsaw-carved bear made by Pete Moon, February 20, 2021

    Google Maps lists the River Trail which runs along the east side of the Little Patuxent River. On March 7, 2020, Norma and I took several of our neighbors here for a chilly Savage Stroll.
    Savage Stroll on the River Trail by the Little Patuxent River, March 7, 2020

    For more information, see Wincopin Neck: My Neck of the Woods.
    Close accordion icon

    WildlifeOpen accordion icon
    Having two rivers, undeveloped land set aside for recreational use, and springs that feed the rivers creates a good environment for a variety of wildlife. Like many places, you'll see lots of deer, squirrels, and a few foxes, but there are other less common critters that you'll probably find if you spend some time here.

    Here's a bat that fell out the ceiling in an office space at Savage Mill where Norma was working on July 1, 2020. We caught it and took it to Frisky's Wildlife & Primate Sanctuary.
    Bat at Savage Mill, July 1, 2020

    I found this possum in my front yard on April 20, 2013. I caught it and relocated to the woods behind my house.
    Possum in my front yard, April 20, 2013

    On October 16, 2022, I found a tiger swallowtail caterpillar in Baldwin Common, displaying its osmeterium quite prominently. According to University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee - Tiger Swallowtail Junior (Family Papilionidae),
    Swallowtail caterpillars also come equipped with a retractable, forked organ (osmeterium) on the first segment of their thorax. When they feel threatened, they pull their head in, (which gives them a big-headed look and displays the "eyes" on the tigers prominently) and pop out two "horns" that look like a snake’s tongue. They also practice chemical warfare—the osmeterium dispenses smelly chemicals called terpenes to discourage persistent or callow predators.
    Tiger swallowtail caterpillar at Baldwin Common, October 16, 2022

    One of my favorite finds was a hellgramite, near the Little Patuxent River on May 28, 2020. Also known as a "toe-biter," it was about three inches long. Once reaching maturity, they become dobsonflies. According to National Park Service - New River Gorge,
    Hellgrammites are a useful in identifying the quality of their river habitats because they can survive only in relatively clean and well oxygenated water. Fisherfolk also consider them to be one of the prime live baits for smallmouth bass fishing. Be careful, hellgrammites resist capture by their ability to "pinch the blood" out of human fingers that try to pull them from the water.
    Hellgramite along the Little Patuxent River, May 28, 2020

    Here are some other things I've found in Savage...mostly on my own property.
    1 / 6
    Work snake on the River Trail, by the Little Patuxent River, April 25, 2021
    Worm snake.
    2 / 6
    Box turtle laying eggs in our back yard, July 10, 2021
    Box turtle laying eggs.
    3 / 6
    Ring-necked snake in our basement, August 29, 2021
    Ring-necked snake.
    4 / 6
    Copperhead snake under rock along the Little Patuxent River, July 11, 2020
    Copperhead.
    5 / 6
    Black rat snake under our deck, May 29, 2020
    Black rat snake.
    6 / 6
    Imperial moth on screen, August 2, 2014
    Imperial moth.

    I mentioned seeing an imperial moth. That was in 2014. In 2023, Norma found an imperial moth caterpillar in our pine tree. The moth can have a wingspan of seven inches while the caterpillar can be up to five inches long!
    Because imperial moth caterpillars are usually rare, the only noticeable sign of an infestation may be pellets of frass that fall to the pavement under an infested trees. Each female moth lays hundreds of eggs. A logical question would be, why are the moths not more common? Evidently the caterpillars are delicious to birds. Caterpillars that feed in an exposed position on foliage are ready targets for predators. In addition, many kinds of parasites and diseases plague caterpillars. So a mother moth is lucky, indeed, if two daughters of the hundreds of her offspring survive to produce grandchildren.
    - from NC State Extension - Imperial Moth
    Imperial moth caterpillar, September 9, 2023

    Without a doubt, my most unusual wildlife find in Savage is the beech blight aphid.
    Close accordion icon



    ChangeOpen accordion icon
    Anyone who doesn't see any faults in someone just doesn't know them well enough. This goes for places too. There is nothing I hate about Savage but there are some things I would change if I could.
  • Too many speed bumps: I'd rather the county replace these with speed cameras. Punish the speeders and leave the rest of us alone.
  • Overhead utility lines: More affluent neighborhoods tend to have buried utility lines. I feel having them overhead distracts from the beauty of the town and results in "hacked up" trees along the road.
  • No public swimming pool: Supposedly, a public swimming pool will be built in North Laurel but I'm not holding my breath on that.
  • Bridge disconnect: In 2014, I have spoke at the county budget hearing and later, one-on-one to our county executives about connecting the Savage Mill Trail, Wincopin, and Savage Park via pedestrian bridges. Doing so would greatly expand access to these trails which lie in very close proximity to each other but are discontiguous. There is talk that this might take place but I know government moves slowly. Like the swimming pool, I am hoping this is an item that will eventually be removed from this list.
  • Appalachian Snaketail dragonfly: This is a rare subspecies of dragonfly that once lived in Savage. Dr. Richard Orr of the Mid-Atlantic Invertebrate Field Studies office once claimed that our area held "the highest concentration of this species in Maryland and likely is the highest concentration of this subspecies globally." Sadly, a survey taken in 2013 showed no more signs of this rare dragonfly. Some say the town's sewer realignment program disturbed their habitat.
  • Former sundown town: Like several other small towns in Maryland, Savage was once considered a "sundown town"...a place where Blacks were expected to leave town by sundown. Thankfully, today things are much different and the town as a whole is open to diversity. As of 2020, ~38% of the residents in Savage are African American. We can't change our history but we can certainly learn from it...and we have.

  • Overall, I think Savage is a great place to live. It really has a lot to offer. That's part of the reason why so many people stay here for so long.
    Close accordion icon

    Drone photo of Savage Mill
    Savage Mill drone photo