Sizeable bedroom community (population approximately 15,000) on the northern edge of Charles County, Maryland
. Waldorf came to prominence in the 1950's as a gambling destination after slot machine
s were legalized in the county in 1949. The economic boom lasted until 1968 when gambling was once again outlawed. Since that time, Waldorf has grown as a primarily residential and retail suburb of Washington, D.C.
, being only 18 miles from the nation's capital. One of the original sources of this growth was a 1970 loan package from the Department of Housing and Urban Development
which fueled the community of Saint Charles
just south of Waldorf's old town center.
The town is most likely either named after the town of Waldorf, Germany, or has similar derivation: that is, either a German word meaning "forest village," or named after the Waldenses, a 12th-century religious sect.
Of historical significance in Waldorf is the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth as he fled pursuit after assassinating Abraham Lincoln. Dr. Mudd was arrested and executed for his involvement.