In the early 1990s, the Navy hired University of Maryland anthropologist Mark Leone to investigate the Naval Academy’s campus in Annapolis, specifically parts that would be affected by new development projects. Using digital mapping, Leone and his team found an abundance of remains, including the remains of two lost neighborhoods that were demolished before World War II as the school expanded. One of those neighborhoods was known as Hell Point.
The parking lot next to Halsey Field House is where the Hell Point neighborhood once stood. Hell Point, now buried beneath Halsey Field House and its parking lot, gave the most insight into the impact of the academy’s growth on an Annapolis neighborhood.
Hell Point was an active working-class neighborhood. It had a mixed population, where Black, Anglo, Jewish, Filipino, Italian, and Greek people all lived together. The Hell Pointers defined themselves as hard-working, with a strong sense of community, contradicting the neighborhood’s rough and tough reputation among other residents of Annapolis.
The name possibly came from the name of the original owner, and was once called Hill’s Point. Another theory is that the name may have referred to an area farther along toward the Naval Academy where it was difficult to navigate ships.
Hell Point was acquired and dozens of houses were demolished by the school in 1941. The Navy did nothing with the property until the 1950s, when Halsey Field House was built on it. Residents’ reactions to the loss of their homes were mixed with protests and petitions but some had been planning to leave anyway.
Know Before You Go
Grab some ice cream and sit on the bench to watch life go past Hell without a glance!