Money lacking to repair 70-year-old Baldwin Hall NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

October 09, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

On Thanksgiving Day in 1922, the Rev. Charles W. Baldwin dedicated the Carroll Baldwin Memorial Hall in Savage "for the welfare and happiness of the whole community."

Through the years it's played host to the annual children's Halloween Party, the Boy's Club of Savage, Savage Community Association meetings, and many birthday and anniversary parties.

The community has done its best to keep the hall in good !B condition through fund-raisers, donations and volunteer carpenters, but 70 years of constant use have taken a toll.

Among other problems, the roof leaks, the electrical system is outdated and the window frames are rotting.

Last year, the county's General Assembly delegation introduced bill seeking $60,000 in state money for major repairs. Under the bill, the state money would be made available if the county provided $58,000 and the community raised $3,000.

The legislation received the governor's endorsement, but because of state budget woes no new capital projects received funding.

Meanwhile, the hall continues to deteriorate.

"It has significant historical value as well as continuing value to the community, but right now it's in serious disrepair," said Del. Martin Madden, R-13B.

Mr. Madden said he's attended functions at the hall when the fuses have blown because someone plugged in the coffee pot and the microwave oven at the same time.

The county delegation plans to resubmit the bill to the 1993 General Assembly, with the state providing $70,000 and the county contributing $68,000.

"We don't think we'll have much success this year, but we want to keep it before the legislature so they know it's important," said Gail Bates, assistant to County Executive Charles I. Ecker.

Built with stone from the bed of the Little Patuxent River, the hall was a gift to the Savage community from Sallie Baldwin and the local mill owner, Leslie Evans and Co. Miss Baldwin built the hall in memory of her brother Carroll, president of the mill, which was known as the Savage Manufacturing Co., from 1905 to 1918.

Leslie Evans and Co. established the Carroll Baldwin Memorial Institute and provided it with a board of directors.

The institute's articles of incorporation state that activities at the hall were to be "educational, moral, literary and benevolent," according to the book "Savage, Maryland," by Vera Filby.

Cathy Whitehead, president of the institute, remembers the hall as the site of practices for the Savage Kaydettes majorettes and Friday night teen dances.

With so many good times associated with the hall, it's difficult for Mrs. Whitehead to watch it go downhill.

was built for the use of the community and it was such a generous gift," she said. "To have it rot before our very eyes is such a waste."

From the outside the hall still looks like the town centerpiece it was built to be. It's a handsome building with large, arched windows, shaded by old trees. The grounds are neatly kept and behind the hall is a brick courtyard and grassy area, resembling a village green.

On Thursday evenings, Dennis Thornton, who volunteers to take care of maintenance at the hall, and other community volunteers donate their time and carpentry skills to the hall. They've made progress but the total restoration is a major project requiring the skills of electricians and roofers.

The hall is rented out for parties, but its condition limits its use.

"For years we never asked for money from the state or county, but you can't get $50,000 out of volunteers for a new slate roof," Mrs. Whitehead said.

"We understand times are tough and we'll take anything they can give us," she said. "We just can't do it on our own any longer."

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