Waldorf | MD
Waldorf was settled before 1900 as a rural crossroads with a train station and was called “Beantown” after a local family. In 1880, the General Assembly of Maryland by an act changed the name to “Waldorf” in honor of William Waldorf Astor, the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, who was born in Walldorf, Palatinate, Germany. On July 29, 1908, the city of Plumb Valley in Waseca County, Minnesota, changed its name to Waldorf after Waldorf, Maryland. Once a tobacco market village, Waldorf came to prominence in the 1950s as a gambling destination after slot machines were legalized in Charles County in 1949. The boom lasted until 1968 when gambling was once again outlawed. Its subsequent substantial growth as a residential community began with a 1970 loan package from the Department of Housing and Urban Development which fueled the giant planned community of St. Charles, south of Waldorf. St. Catharine, or the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Waldorf is predominantly a bedroom community for many residents who commute to work at other points in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, especially personnel at Joint Base Andrews. Waldorf’s local jobs are primarily in the service and sales industry. Nearby St. Charles Towne Center, a 2-story shopping mall, opened in 1988 and was remodeled in 2007. St. Charles Towne Center draws shoppers and diners from several Maryland counties, Washington, and parts of Virginia, causing Charles County to be promoted as the “shopping capital of Southern Maryland.” U.S. Route 301, the main highway through the town, boasts the “Waldorf Motor Mile,” with car dealerships located primarily along the northbound side. Most of Waldorf is flat, particularly the eastern part of the city. There are small hills to the west, and much of the southern and eastern parts of the city are wetlands, featuring very diverse wildlife in ponds and streams. Waldorf is forested, mostly with oak and pine trees. In 2017, USA Today ranked Waldorf #18 out of 50 of the “Best Cities” in the United States to live in.