The War of 1812 & Star Spangled 200

Visit The Howard County Welcome Center in Historic Savage Mill


Howard County Tourism & Promotion in partnership with Historic Savage Mill has opened a new Visitor Center at Historic Savage Mill, in Savage, Maryland. The new Center highlights the story of Commodore Joshua Barney, local hero of the War of 1812, and opened on his birthday, July 6th, 2013. This strategic location will link the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail between Washington, DC and Baltimore while honoring Barney near his home.

Historic Savage Mill, an 18th century textile mill on the National Register of Historic Places, produced canvas that supplied sailors and soldiers for nearly 150 years. Now, fully restored, the Mill offers visitors great shopping, dining, art galleries, outdoor adventures and more, all within a beautiful, historical setting.

The new Howard County Visitor Center at Historic Savage Mill will be open on weekends, year-round, Saturdays (10:00am-5:00pm),Sundays (12:00pm-5:00pm), and Federal Holiday Mondays (12:00pm-5:00pm), staffed by knowledgeable and personable tourism professionals

Spend the Day at the Mill

While shopping the Mill you’re sure to find delightful antiques. Be sure to stop by The Antique Center, with over 225 dealers you’re sure to find that unique pick. Women will find a great bargain at Charity’s Closet, a women’s and junior’s thrift shop where everything from accessories to evening wear costs $5. The proceeds from Charity’s Closet go to Success in Style, an organization which helps disadvantaged women. There’s something for everyone at The Family Game Store, whether you’re looking for a board game to play with the kids, or you’re a hobbyist gamer. Come to their game events to make new friends while you enjoy your hobby.

Take a walk around the Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge, constructed in 1869, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000 and is now utilized as a pedestrian bridge connecting Historic Savage Mill with the Savage Mill Trail. The trail is .8 miles, level enough for strollers and bicycles, ending a few hundred feet past the stone dam abutments near the Middle and Little Patuxent rivers.

Just a half mile walk from Savage Mill is Savage Park, there you’ll find many opportunities for discovering wildlife, wildflowers and natural history along 2.8 miles of interconnecting trails, including links to Patuxent Branch Trail and Lake Elkhorn. The park also offers recreational areas such as 5 ball diamonds; 2 basketball courts; 2 horseshoe pits; a picnic pavilion; a mini-soccer field; a multi-purpose field; 4 lighted tennis courts, 2 volleyball courts, and a playground

While you’re in the mood for adventure, visit Terrapin Adventures at Historic Savage Mill which offers ziplines, a climbing tower and giant swing, kayak tours, mountain biking, tubing, team building and more.

Once dinner is complete, come back to the Welcome Center in the Mill (open whenever the Mill is open) and discover the Mill’s exciting past as well as its intriguing paranormal present on a Ghost Walk (on select dates Friday and Saturday evenings). This tour meanders both in and outdoors ending at Ram’s Head Tavern located offering traditional tavern food, outdoor dining, Fordham craft beers, live music, Sunday brunch, and a great Happy Hour.

Be sure to download the official Historic Savage Walking Tour - a self-guided tour full of local history.

Joshua Barney: Getting to Know the Man behind the American Military Hero


New-Barney.jpgCommodore Barney, thank you for taking time out of your afterlife to join us in the Commemoration of the War of 1812 and allowing us to get to know you a little better. We know about your heroics in the Continental Navy during the American Revolution and your continued patriotism and valor during the War of 1812. But we’d like to get to know the man behind the American military hero. Can we ask you a few questions?

Of course my friend, ask away. I’ve nothing to hide!

Can you tell us about your early life? We’ve heard it wasn’t exactly a typical childhood.

Well I don’t know why you say that, things were always pretty cut and dried to me. At the age of ten I approached my father to let him know that I would not be returning to school. “Beg pardon?” he said. I replied that “I have learned all that the master can teach; I can write a good hand and perfectly understand arithmetic.” Though taken aback, dad agreed. Unfortunately, he apprenticed me to some local businessmen and I thought I’d go crazy. My dream had always been to go to sea and thank heaven my sister had married a ship’s captain, William Drysdale, and he accepted me at 13; that’s when I really started to live. My brother-in-law, however, was about to stop living! In 1774, at 16, he took ill and died while we were on a trans Atlantic voyage . I stepped up, and got us into port, sold the cargo, purchased trade goods and headed back to Baltimore.

Wow! That’s amazing. You still wanted to be a sailor after that?

Absolutely! At seventeen, I was assigned to my first ship in the Continental Navy and would see 35 Navel engagements during the Revolutionary War.

After the War of Independence you spent some time in France. We understand that you made quite an impression at the French Court. Umm, Marie Antoinette?

Oh yes, Marie! I did think I cut a dashing figure but boy was I taken aback when she offered her cheek rather than her hand for me to kiss when I was presented to the court in Versailles. Of course I have to say it was rather nice that the rest of the ladies in the court followed suit. And please, don’t even suggest that that song was written about me!

Yes, that was certainly something we were wondering about. So, you think “Barney Leave the Girls Alone” was not about your triumph at Versailles?

Well I guess it could be possible that it was inspired by Marie’s rather bold action. It was she who started it! Either way, it would not be advice that I’d want to follow.

There was another event in your life involving an American beauty known as the Belle of Baltimore. A true case of star-crossed lovers, wouldn’t you say?

Alas, that is exactly the case. My good friend Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, paid a visit to me in Baltimore. He caught a glimpse of local beauty Betsy Patterson and insisted that I introduce him. Well for them it was love at first sight but it certainly did not turn out to be a match made in heaven! The two of them were the only ones who couldn’t see that it was a mistake. Napoleon wanted an arranged marriage that would benefit him politically; he never recognized the union, had the state of France void the wedding and never allowed poor Betsy to enter the country even though she bore Jerome a son. Little brother gave in to big brother and abandoned Betsy.

Your later life offered even more adventure, correct?

Yes, thanks to those #!*% British! The “Second War of Independence” (what you may know as the War of 1812)brought me back into service for my country. After the overwhelming British invasion of the region and the subsequent burning of my Chesapeake Flotilla, I went with my men to Bladensburg in a futile attempt to stop the British march on Washington. While many troops turned and ran, my men and I stood our ground and managed a valiant but futile counter attack. I was felled by a musket ball and captured by the British. The enemy thought so highly of my reputation and gallantry that they refused to hold me prisoner.

We had a note from your son that we should ask what unusual item you bequeathed to him.

He’s still on that is he? That boy never did appreciate anything I did for him. What son would not feel pride in displaying the musket ball that was dug from his dead father’s thigh bone. That ball was the one that hit me at Bladensburg and ultimately led to my demise.

Well Commodore, we can’t thank you enough for taking time to meet with us and we surely can’t thank you enough for the major role you played in helping to create and preserve this great country.

Learn More About the War of 1812

Star Spangled 200

Commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with information, events, attractions, and more

Star Spangled Trail

A 560-mile land and water route that tells the story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region, passing by historic sites, and commemorating the events leading up to the Battle for Baltimore, the aftermath of which inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem.

The National Anthem Celebration Foundation

Dedicated to increasing public awareness, education and appreciation for our National Anthem through partnerships, outreach and events in celebrating the song that identifies the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The National Park Service’s Star Spangled Banner

Learn about the War of 1812, and the Star Spangled Trail.