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The Town of Indian Head, as well as NSF Base, occupies land that was once part of the territory of the Algonquin Indians.  The Native-Americans who lived along the lower Potomac River had a complex society of kin-based bands, which in turn were loosely organized into confederations at the time of European settlement.  Scholars believe that by 1608, the Native American groups north of the Potomac were divided into about ten petty chiefdoms.  Of these groups, the Piscataway, Anacostan, Mattawoman, Nanjemoy, and Portobaco were further organized into a paramount chiefdom headed by the Piscataway.  The paramount chief of this group was known as the Tayac.

In 1654, the Second Lord Baltimore, Celilius Calvert granted 5000 acres to his friend Thomas Cornwallis. That land eventually developed into both the NSF Base and several years later in 1920, the Town of Indian Head was established.

Though details of the exact evolution of the name of the town may be lost to history, it is very likely that it was simply an abbreviation of the geographic designation of Indian Headlands - as the land was a peninsula, settled by Native Americans which overlooked the Potomac River.


Officially established in 1920, the Town of Indian Head and the surrounding area has a long and interesting history, but it does lack basic amenities. In the 1980’s, land use decisions made by Charles County and Maryland State Officials made it more difficult for the town to thrive economically. The population is too low to draw more businesses to the town.  Indian Head is located at the end of a major highway, Rt. 210, and does not benefit from through traffic activities. And, after 911, tighter security separated the base from the town.​  However, there is a continuing effort to revive the area.

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