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

Station (NOS).

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.