The Town of Indian Head occupies land that was once part of the territory of the Algonquin Indians. These Native-Americans lived along the lower Potomac River.
The original 5000 acre land grant to Thomas Cornwallis was divided into several large tracts in 1772, which then changed hands several times before the Navy purchased some of the land at the end of the nineteenth century.
When the United States entered
World War I in 1917, the Naval
Powder Factory was a major
produce of smokeless powder or the Navy.
1700's English settlers forced the Native America The origin of the name Indian Head is most likely
corruption of the term "Indian "Headlands" as the entire tower end of the
peninsula was an Indian
During the 1950s, the Korean conflict the factory stepped up explosive and propellant production. The factory began producing missile fuel for long-range Polaris missile and smaller rockets and later, propellants for emergency ejection mechanisms.
The Naval Station at Indian Head was established in 1890 when Ensign Dashiele came from the Annapolis area searching for a new location to build a proving ground for the testing of guns, munitions, and armor plate for Navy ships.
In 1947, the Bureau of Ordnance agreed to the establishment of a set of pilot plants at Indian Head that
would have the capacity to produce experimental new propellants for Naval research use.
In 1958 reflecting its new mission and direction the base officially became the Naval Propellant Plant.
In 1897 the Indian Head facility expanded its mission with the addition of smokeless powder factory.
By 1913 the base gradually
moved away from the simple
proving of guns and armor to
include standardization of shells and powder.
The mid to late 1960s were
characterized by the production of such products as the plastic explosive C-3 in 1965, an updated Zuni rocket in 1966, Polaris casting powder from 1961 through 1967, Poseidon casting powder
(C-3) in 1967, and composite propellant and PBX explosive processing.
Between 1904 and 1907, nitric acid and sulfuric acid plants were constructed for the large-scale production of powder.
NOS was designated a "Center of Excellence" for six technologies by the mid 1989. This meant that the Navy would not duplicate the effort
elsewhere and would treat the facility as the primary collection of experts in the particular area.
In 1915 an ammonium picrate
plant was opened to expand the chemical research program, both routine and experimental.
In 1966 because of the diversification from propellants into related fields
of chemistry, engineering and
production contract management, the base changed its name,
becoming the NAval Ordnance
Naval Support Activity South Potomac
(NSASP) was established on Nov. 3, 2005 as a component of Naval District
Washington. NSASP is one of six regional commands within the district charged with providing shore installation
management services for more than 20 separate locations.