Indian Head, Maryland

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Indian Head is a town in Charles County, Maryland, United States. The population was 3,422 at the 2000 census. It has been the site of a naval base specializing in gun and rocket propellants since 1890.[1] Production of nitrocellulose and smokeless powder began at the Indian Head Powder Factory in 1900.[2] The name of the base has varied over the years from Indian Head Proving Ground, to Naval Powder Factory, to Naval Propellant Plant, to Naval Ordnance Station, to the present Naval Support Facility Indian Head. The facility's main tenant activity is the Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC/IH). Advanced research in energetic systems takes place at NSWC/IH. NSWC/IH absorbed the function of the closed Naval Ordnance Laboratory, formerly in White Oak. The base currently employs 3,700.



The peninsula, a "head" of land, had been long occupied by various cultures of indigenous peoples. The historic Algonquian-speaking American Indian tribe was the xxx,[who?] encountered by the first English settlers; the latter called the land, "Indian Head", meaning "Indian Peninsula." (One source cites that its name came from a legend related by the Algonquian-speaking tribes.[citation needed] Another story claims that the town was named Indian Head because it resembles an Indian’s head from the air.)[citation needed]

The city of Indian Head was incorporated in 1920. It is located between the Potomac River and Mattawoman Creek on Cornwallis Neck, named for the 1654 grant of 5,000 acres (20 km2) by the second Lord Baltimore, Cecilius Calvert, to Capt. Thomas Cornwallis of St. Mary's County. This land grant included the 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) Cornwallis Manor on the Potomac, presumably the Indian Head site, with St. Elizabeth's Manor of 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) “nearby but detached”.[3] In 1850, the Washington Fruit Growers Association named the area including Indian Head as Glymont. At that time, with Pye's Wharf and Leonard Marbury's Wharf, it was the largest river port in Charles County. The name Indian Head applies to the land west of the current Glymont, and dates to the establishment of the Powder Factory.[4]]

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