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Burnsville Author Chronicles Savage's Photographic History

Nancy Huddleston wrote the visual history book "Images of America – Savage" last fall.

Burnsville resident Nancy Huddleston recently chronicled the history of neighboring town Savage in her first book, Images of America – Savage, which was published earlier this year.

“I really came to love Savage and its history,” said Huddleston.

The largely photographic book spans from 1856 to 1965. It traces Savage from its early days as a river community settled by Scottish and Irish immigrants under the name “Hamilton Landing” to the record-breaking floods that struck the town in the 1960s.

Huddleston also discusses the role of turn-of-the-century racehorse and local legend Dan Patch and his owner, farm industry entrepreneur Marion W. Savage, the town’s namesake.

As the text continues, Huddleston addresses Savage’s commercial growth in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as the community’s involvement in World War II, as home to both a Japanese-American intelligence training camp and a naval port.

Images of America is part of a national series of the same name, published by the South Carolina-based Arcadia Publishing.

“We have a rich history,” said Janet Bohn Williams, who is the mayor of Savage and the secretary of the Dan Patch Historical Society. “We are thrilled that they chose Savage as one of the cities that they wanted to publish a book on.”

Williams has held the position of historical society secretary since the society’s founding in 1992. She was also the first librarian at the Savage Public Library and she has been collecting Savage historical documents since the 1960s. Williams was originally approached by Arcadia to write the book, but she declined.

However, Williams and the historical society played a significant role in the research for the book under Huddleston’s authorship.

The society’s photography collection, housed in the Heritage Room at the Savage Public Library, was Huddleston’s primary source for images and information, although she also consulted local families and businesses with historic ties to the Savage area.

Huddleston credits the historical society and general community support for the speed with which she was able to complete the book, which she wrote between August and November of 2011. Huddleston also noted that her background in journalism may have contributed to the speed of her writing.

The book was published on May 28, 2012 — just in time for Dan Patch Days.

Prior to authoring Images of America, Huddleston worked as the editor of the Savage Pacer for almost 15 years. During her time at the Pacer, the publication ran a weekly feature called “Remember When,” in which the paper printed a historic photograph. Huddleston first became interested in writing the book when she received a press release from Arcadia, in which the company stated it was seeking an author for a book about Savage.

Signed copies of Images of America – Savage are currently available at the Dan Patch Historical Society, Burnsville and Savage's Eagle Creek Gallery. Unsigned copies can be purchased at Burnsville Costco, Cal’s Market & Garden Center in Savage, Savage Walgreens, Savage's Art Studio & Gallery, Amazon and Arcadia Publishing’s website. The book is 128 pages and retails for $21.99.

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