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Home > Neighboring Towns > Savage(formerly Hamilton), Lakeville and Shakopee Minnesota

Old Savage buildingSavage - This building has collapsed, but the remains are located about 80 yards south of MP 28 (South of MN 13 at ROW) for those of you who like to visit dilapidated locations. - Posted on a Shakopee Facebook page.
Savage Library - Heritage ArtworkWithin the Savage Library is the Heritage Room established as a joint partnership between the library system, the City of Savage and the Dan Patch Historical Society in 1997. Throughout the building you will find art depicting Dan Patch, Savage and Scott County History. Shown is a wooden recreation of the Savage Stable.
The Savage AmocoDowntown Savage Amoco.
The Savage Store 2017T shirts and baseball caps with various Savage logos are sold at City Hall.
This is Savage - Dan Patch was not the only race in townAugust 2020, the Savage City Connection shares the story of dog racing in Savage.
Savage Supply 1968Savage Supply is closing February 15, 1968 ad.
Savage Swing Bridge.Photo compliments of the City of Savage.

This is Savage: Dan Patch Line Bridge (a.k.a. Savage swing bridge)

The Dan Patch Line Bridge was built by M.W. Savage in 1910 for $50,000 to carry passengers across the Minnesota River on the Dan Patch Rail Line. It was a center pivot swing bridge, swinging open to allow barge traffic to pass on the Minnesota River and swinging closed to allow trains, and eventually cars, to cross from Savage into Bloomington.

While the rail line and bridge are still intact, it is no longer used, but that could change. Recently there has been renewed interest in its transportation potential as part of the overall transportation discussion in Scott County. Savage city officials along with several neighboring communities and Legislators are discussing the benefits of using existing rail lines like the Dan Patch Line to improve mobility across the Minnesota River and expand passenger rail service throughout the metro, state, and region.
Savage's last hobby farm, the Loftus farm, may soon disappear 2018The June 2, 2018 Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on the planned sale of Savage's last farm.

Final piece of a family farm dating to 1860, among last in Savage, goes on the market.

Development is nipping at the borders of Ray Loftus’ hobby farm, one of Savage’s last remnants of country living.

And soon it will swallow the land whole: Loftus and his siblings are preparing to sell the final piece of property that has been in his family for 158 years, since just before the Civil War.

“It’s getting too expensive to hang on to,” Loftus, 63, said of the farm, on which he pays about $20,000 in annual property taxes. “It’ll be painful, but I think it’s time.”

The homestead, located at the intersection of County Road 42 and Dakota Avenue, once spanned 600 acres but has slowly dwindled as family members sold off parcels. What’s left is 15 acres of green space and wetlands and a weathered 1950s-era barn and farmhouse.

The Loftus family members plan to list it for roughly $2.2 million.

For suburban farmers, deciding how long to hold out in the face of encroaching development is a common dilemma. Though 15 percent of the seven-county metro area remains agricultural, pockets of farmland are shrinking and will continue to do so in the coming decades.

About 22 percent of Scott County was still farmed in 2016, according to the Metropolitan Council. In Savage, that number was pegged closer to 1.5 percent — and is projected to disappear by 2030. Today, just 130 acres of agricultural land remain in town.

Suburban farmers often reach a tipping point when local resources and suppliers they depend on become scarce, said Brian DeVore, of the Land Stewardship Project, a Minneapolis-based sustainable agriculture nonprofit. Daily challenges range from neighbors unhappy with the sounds and smells of farm work to zoning disputes and increased taxes.

Over time, the quiet road outside the Loftus’ farm stopped being so quiet. As the family sold off parts of the land, wheat fields gave way to townhouses and commercial districts. Now Ray and his wife, Julie, worry about their eight remaining cattle getting loose on the busy highway.

“Before, we never had to put up with honking horns and ambulances zipping by us all day long,” Julie Loftus said. “If you want to keep that kind of lifestyle, you’re going to have to move.”

Loftus’ great-grandfather, Thomas, an illiterate Irish immigrant, resettled his family in modern-day Savage on 160 acres he acquired from a War of 1812 widow. The original paper deed, dated 1860 and signed by President James Buchanan, was passed down four generations along with the land.

Ray Loftus, then a recent University of Minnesota graduate, took over the dairy farm operations in 1983 after a stint as a nutritionist for Land O’Lakes. “This sort of work just gets in your blood,” he said.

But trouble was on the horizon for the Loftus farm, which found itself piling on debt.

Savage officials struck a deal in 1980 to buy 3 acres of the farm to build a water tower, which Loftus said resulted in a special assessment on the property in addition to real estate taxes. The sale prompted a zoning change from rural to urban, which opened the door to higher land valuations and therefore higher taxes.

The Loftus family was then hit with the assessment — $500,000, which came with an annual interest rate of 8 percent. By 1987, Loftus said, his parents owed upward of $1 million.

One at a time, relatives sold off plots of land to keep up with the increased tax burden, and commercial development began encircling the farm. “The debt was kind of overwhelming,” he said. “Selling out is your only option.”

By 1996, without enough pasture to maintain dairy production, Loftus said he was forced to get rid of the cows. Today, a Hy-Vee has replaced the wheat field where Loftus had carved out a baseball diamond for his three kids. A Life Time fitness center, Kwik Trip gas station and Goodwill outlet all sit on former Loftus land.

But the Loftus family has also faced challenges in marketing their property. When Abdallah Candies wanted to build a chocolate factory on the farm’s remaining acreage, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources halted the lucrative sale to protect adjacent wetlands.

DNR officials told Loftus, who co-owns the property with his five siblings, that one of the ponds couldn’t be touched because its water flows into the Mississippi River, so the candy-maker moved to Apple Valley instead. City officials say they’d consider selling back some of the property it acquired from the family during the water tower deal to make it easier to build around the wetland.

Further complicating matters, the triangular-shaped parcel lacks a city water and sewer hookup, said former City Administrator Barry Stock. “So, it’s not an easy site to develop, but it’s such a strategic location that it is going to sell,” he said. “Many people are surprised it’s still a farm.”

Still, it will be tough for the Loftuses to part with the land. Sometimes they find notes outside their door thanking them for preserving the farm — proof, Julie Loftus said, that others in the city of 30,000 are saddened at the possibility of losing part of the community’s history.

Over the years, admirers have dropped off tokens like a cow cookie jar and a framed painting of the homestead. Passersby regularly stop with children to snap photos of the Hereford calves.

“People like seeing the cattle there,” said Savage Mayor Janet Williams, who was raised on a nearby farm. “It’s just nostalgic to drive by and see [the livestock] in the midst of all the development.”

A group of residents has petitioned to turn the Loftus property into a city-owned “living farm,” but Williams said that wouldn’t be economically viable. And Loftus is reluctant to pour cash into the dilapidated dairy barn and his childhood home because he knows they will likely be razed.

The couple plan to retire to a family lake home near Milltown, Wis., which has 10 acres of open land to putter around on. Julie Loftus is urging her husband to move the cattle and his heavy equipment there.

“I’m hoping to re-create that farm life for him,” she said. “The Irishman in him just doesn’t want to let it go. ... The money doesn’t replace the memories.”

Savage Minnesota built tankers are still in serviceSeptember 29, 1963 Minneapolis Star Tribune: The Navy is still getting good use out of ocean-going tankers built some 20 years ago on the Minnesota River at Savage...
Savage Minnesota built tankers are still in serviceSeptember 29, 1963 Minneapolis Star Tribune: The Navy is still getting good use out of ocean-going tankers built some 20 years ago on the Minnesota River at Savage...
Savage PoliceSavage police vehicles around 1970 and 2020. Photo compliments of the City of Savage.
Ottawa Avenue as it looks in 2019.A view of Ottawa Avenue including the Razor's Edge at12385 Ottawa Avenue South,Savage, MN 55378. This is likely the oldest business building standing in Savage (having been moved from Burnsville when the Berrisford Store) and it appears in earlier photos of this street.
Savage to repair bridge 2017The Savage Pacer - December 2, 2017 reports - the City of Savage will pay for repairs to the Quentin Avenue Bridge after it was damaged by a fatal crash on November 5, The city was interested in removing the bridge and met with Canadian Pacific Railway in November, which owns the rights to the corridor where the bridge sits. The company did not want to remove the bridge.
Marion Savage and stable trackThe Savage Track, owned by Marion Savage.
Savage VFWOnce the Savage VFW, later housing and torn down 2018.
Former Savage VFWSavage VFW in 2018 - apartments.
Savage VFWSavage VFW circa 1970s.
Arnoldy recalls Lindbergh plane crash near SavageAugust 1, 1989 St. Cloud Times - Savage resident Roman Arnoldy recalls his meeting with Charles Lindbergh...
Savage Wartime effort building shipsThe December, 1984 edition of the Savage Review reports on the wartime efforts of WW II including ship building.
City of SavageAnother view of the Savage water tower 2018.
Savage Wear 2017The new “Savage-wear” makes great gifts! T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats are available for purchase in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes at Savage City Hall.
A history of Savage MinnesotaThis history of Savage was found n Wikipedia November 2019.
Windmill Cafe SavageAn earlier (undated) photo of the Windmill Cafe, with the exterior, painted blue.
Savage public works in the winterOne of the winter plows in Savage 2017.
Downtown Savage 2018The original Downtown Savage Main Street, now 123rd Street.
Savage DepotThis photo shows the depot during the 1950s, notice Mark Egan's Texaco appears.
Saving the Savage depotSeptember 24, 2014 Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the Savage City Council extended a $ 1 monthly lease to help flavor at the Depot stay afloat in a much cherished historic setting...
Savage branch of the Scott County Library system 2017The library is located at 13090 Alabama Avenue, on the campus of the City Hall and Post Office.
Savage Minnesota Post Office 2017The Savage post office is located on the same property as the City Hall and Library at 6100 McColl Drive.
Savage DepotAnother view of the restored Savage Depot winter 2019. This station has been moved twice from its original location. In 1973 it was moved to Murphy's Landing in Shakopee and then it was moved back to Savage in 2006. The book "The Chicago And Northwestern In Minnesota" (Luecke, 1990) claims this station was built in 1883.
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