The Bush compound is the summer retreat house of the Bush family. It served as the Summer White House of George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States. It is located along the Atlantic Ocean in the northeast United States, on Walker's Point (previously known as Point Vesuvius and home to a Kennebunkport city park called "Damon Park").
Walker's Point juts out into the ocean in southern Maine, in the town of Kennebunkport, approximately midway between the cities of Portland, Maine, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The property has been a family retreat for more than a century, starting with Bush's maternal grandfather and great-grandfather.
The estate was purchased in the late 19th century jointly by Bush's great-grandfather David Davis Walker, and his son, St. Louis banker George Herbert "Bert" Walker. Both built mansions on the point in 1902. D. D. Walker's mansion has since been torn down. In 1921, Dorothy Walker and Prescott Bush were married, and Bert Walker built a "bungalow" on the Point and gave it to them as a wedding present. When Bert died in 1953, his son, George Herbert Walker Jr. ("Herbie"), purchased the property from his father's estate. It was not willed to him. Upon the death of Herbie in 1977, the property again went up for sale and was purchased by Herbie's nephew, George H. W. Bush. The estate has since remained in the Bush family.
President Bush spent much of his childhood at the Kennebunkport estate. As an adult, Bush, his wife Barbara, and their children George W., Jeb, Marvin, Neil, Dorothy, and Robin spent most summers at the estate. The estate has been a backdrop of family weddings, holidays, and receptions. While at the "Summer White House," Bush hosted world leaders including Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev for informal and private meetings. As a young man, Bush relocated to Houston, Texas; eventually the Bushes maintained a working residence in Tanglewood, where they spent most of their time.
George H. W. wrote of his memories there to Portland Magazine in 1997 after reading the article "Inventing the Campbells." The Campbells were the heirs to the Palm Beach clothing fortune and had a home in the Kennebunks. "I really enjoyed that article about the Campbells by Colin Sargent, July/August 1997). I remember Connie, Babs, and Bill—remember them well and very favorably. Connie was the glamour girl, all right. When she would flash by in that neat little Chris Craft, blonde hair flying, all us little guys, who were madly in love with her—from afar, that is—used to sigh and dream. We would hang around hoping that this the most glamorous of women would give us a ride in that flashy boat. Barbara was a wonderful girl, too. Just my age—so my friends and I were not quite as intimidated by her as we were by the slightly older Connie. Anyway, your story brought back many happy memories… President George Bush, Houston, Texas"
Bush's son, the 43rd President, George W. Bush, visits with family in Kennebunkport several times a year. His "Summer White House" also known as the "Western White House," was the Prairie Chapel Ranch near Crawford, Texas.
House and groundsEdit
The estate is situated on a promontory of land called Walker's Point which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. The large central house, built in the New England shingle style, has nine bedrooms, four sitting rooms, an office, a den, a library, a dining room, a kitchen, and various patios and decks. Next to the main house are a four-car garage, a pool, tennis court, dock, boathouse, and guesthouse. There are spacious lawns on either side of the house, on which there is a small sportsfield.
The entrance is gated and guarded by Secret Service officers, though visitors can see the driveway leading up to the main house and a circular driveway, in the middle of which is a large flagpole flying the American flag. When either President Bush was present at the compound while in office, the Presidential flag was hoisted below the national colors; the flagpole was a popular backdrop for television journalists during the elder Bush's presidency.
The home and contents were substantially damaged by a strong series of storms in late October 1991. The damage was estimated at $300,000–$400,000 and the President did receive an undisclosed amount in flood insurance, but failed to take the full deduction for storm damage on his 1991 tax return to avoid a conflict of interest as he was the one responsible for declaring Maine as a 'disaster area'.
- French President François Mitterrand visited President George H. W. Bush on May 21, 1989.
- British Prime Minister John Major visited President George H. W. Bush during Soviet talks in August 1991.
- Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney visited President George H. W. Bush during Soviet talks on August 26, 1991.
- Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin visited President George H. W. Bush in August 1992.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin visited President George W. Bush in July 2007. Also met with former President George H. W. Bush.
- French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited President George W. Bush on August 11, 2007. Also met with former President George H. W. Bush.
- Former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited during the summer of 2011.
- Billy Graham and his wife Ruth Graham vacationed there with the elder Bushes.
- Former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell has been a guest in the Bush compound more than once.
- Retired Lieutenant General William Pagonis has been a guest in the Bush compound more than once.
- Former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice convened the foreign policy advisory team assembled to brief George W. Bush prior to the 2000 U.S. presidential election.
- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's nomination announcement took place at Walker's Point in July 1991.
- Direct family sources.
- "3-Story Waves Heavily Damage Bush Vacation Compound in Southern Maine". The New York Times. November 1, 1991. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- Jehl, Douglas (April 16, 1992). "'Millie's Book' Sends Bushes' Income Soaring". Los Angeles Times.
- "New cottage at Maine compound for Jeb Bush". The Boston Globe. May 23, 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
- The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Mulroney of Canada in Kennebunkport, Maine
- Associated Press, Bush, Sarkozy pledge close ties. Consulted on August 14, 2007.
- "The President Preacher; In Crisis, White House Turns to Billy Graham". The Washington Post. January 18, 1991. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- Mann, James. 2004. Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet. p. 250.