Longtime resident writes colorful history of Savage


May 25, 2001|By Lourdes Sullivan | Lourdes Sullivan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

JEANNETTE Vollmerhausen, 73, has written and illustrated the first history of Savage for children.

Printed by Savage United Methodist Church, "Savage, My Home Town" is geared for third- through fifth-grade children. Copies of this colorful local history will be for sale at the church's Strawberry Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 2. The book costs $7.50.

"We wanted color pictures; that's what makes it a bit more expensive," said Vollmerhausen.

She had not planned on being an author. But a brief talk to a local Boy Scout troop about life in Savage was so successful that the Rev. Galen Menne of Savage United Methodist persuaded Vollmerhausen to write a local history geared to younger readers.

A longtime resident of Savage who lives on the site where she grew up, Vollmerhausen drew upon her memories to explain how different life in Savage used to be.

"What surprised the children were the outhouses and no electricity," she said. "They couldn't get over that."

She remembers going to Savage Mill to get ice for the family icebox. There were no refrigerators. Many families kept a cow in what is now Savage Park. They rented barn space in Savage Mill's farm there from the mill.

Much of what Vollmerhausen describes in her book no longer exists or has been transformed.

Baldwin Commons, the park behind Carroll Baldwin Hall, was the site of Savage School, which she attended in the 1920s. Because the school was built on a landfill, it began to sink and was condemned. It was replaced in 1938 with a public school built two blocks away. The newer building has become Bethel Christian Academy.

Vollmerhausen describes a bandstand on the commons where locals played music on weekends. "A lot of people played by ear. We didn't have television. So we came and listened," she said.

The park served as a mini-zoo at one time. For a brief period in the mid-1940s, the closed Savage Mill was operated as a Christmas ornament factory. The owner, Harry Heim, kept reindeer in the park as part of his promotional effort to turn the town into a Christmas village.

Vollmerhausen paints a picture of an active, vibrant community despite - or perhaps because of - the difficulties of ordinary living.

"There's not as much to do in town now," she said. "The men used to play ballgames in the grove next to Route 1. There used to be a pool hall and a bowling alley. They showed movies on Saturday nights."

A limited number of copies of the book are available.

Information: Savage United Methodist, 301-725-7630. The church is at Baltimore and Foundry streets.

Science, enrichment fair

Bollman Bridge Elementary and Patuxent Valley Middle schools held a Community Enrichment Celebration the evening of May 17 at both schools. Children displayed their hard work and talents.

Musical groups from the schools performed in the auditoriums. What made the event special, though, was the grouping of the science and enrichment projects. All of the science projects - produced by kindergartners to eighth-graders - were displayed in the hallways and gymnasium of Bollman Bridge Elementary.

The yearlong independent research projects nicely demonstrated how much the children had grown in the nine years from kindergarten to eighth-grade; the projects became more complex and sophisticated as the pupils got older.

Among the participants from Bollman Bridge were kindergartners Zack Newman, Amy Bodine, Andy Scruggs, Matt Livak and Courtney McClure; first-graders Stephen Yelenik, Ethan Goff, Kenny Harpster, Karen Akinmuyisan, Angela Orovich, Stephanie Williams, Kate Hokanson, Will Standish, Jessica Chapple, Daniel Agee, Garrett Lithicum, Sierra Brown, Kayla Kelly, Valerie Green, Audri Zahlis, Michelle Aranyi, Mitchell Griffiths, Selina Fitzhugh, Thomas Lorenz, Devin Carey, Gavin Hendrick and Nicole Dawson; second-graders Cameron Bale, Corinne Zahlis, Renee Williams, Ian Orovich, Amanda Kennedy, Emma Siegel, Matthew Beck, Laurie Adler, Sarah McClanahan and Grace Owens; third-graders Leah Ginty, Hannah Diehl, Taylor Leaper, Carolyn Harpster, Brittany Livak, Katie Pfeiffer, Kristy Werle, Caity Wallace, Matthew Vermillion, Greg Szalkowski, Andrea Hricko, Tara Bresette, Matthew Williams, Russell Bodine, Nick Carey, Morgan McClure, Sharnise Hendrick; fourth-graders Jennifer Aranyi, Alyssa Lash, Sam Ginty, Guillaume Gouin, Kyle Stanton, Lana Riggins, Megan Churchwell, Jennifer Helfst, Christina Rhome, Corey Lengyel; and fifth-graders Brittany Diehl, Emily Dean, Rachel Lanspa, Shannon Nabors, Curtis Mitchell, Courtney Bale, Marina Metzler, Colin Weber and Erick Chapple.

Their projects ranged from "How to Select a Guide Dog" to "The Effects of Light on Sea Monkeys" to designing Web pages. The middle school participants will receive their credits in a future column.

Laurel Woods picnic

The school year is quickly winding down. Laurel Woods Elementary will welcome summer vacation with a community block party from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 8.

The party offers a chance to meet neighbors and make friends. The school's PTA will serve hamburgers and hot dogs, with drinks provided by the local McDonald's.

Information: 410-880-5960.

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