Camp David is the country retreat for the president of the United States. It is located in the wooded hills of Catoctin Mountain Park, in Frederick County, Maryland, near the towns of Thurmont and Emmitsburg, about 62 miles (100 km) north-northwest of the national capital city of Washington, D.C. It is officially known as the Naval Support Facility Thurmont. Because it is technically a military installation, the staffing is primarily provided by the Seabees, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. Naval construction battalions are tasked with base construction and send detachments as needed.
Naval Support Facility Thurmont
|Catoctin Mountain Park|
Frederick County, Maryland in the United States
|Type||Presidential country retreat|
|Owner||Department of Defense|
|Controlled by||Naval District Washington|
|Built by||Works Progress Administration|
|In use||1938 – present|
|Events||Camp David Accords (1978)|
Camp David Summit (2000)
38th G8 summit (2012)
|Commander Catherine Eyrich|
|Occupants||President of the United States and the First Family|
Originally known as Hi-Catoctin, Camp David was built as a camp for federal government agents and their families by the Works Progress Administration. Construction started in 1935 and was completed in 1938. In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt converted it to a presidential retreat and renamed it "Shangri-La", for the fictional Himalayan paradise in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton.
The Catoctin Mountain Park does not indicate the location of Camp David on park maps due to privacy and security concerns, although it can be seen through the use of publicly accessible satellite images.
Franklin D. Roosevelt hosted Sir Winston Churchill at Shangri-La in May 1943. Dwight Eisenhower held his first cabinet meeting there on November 22, 1955 following hospitalization and convalescence he required after a heart attack suffered in Denver, Colorado on September 24. Eisenhower met Nikita Khrushchev there for two days of discussions in September 1959.
John F. Kennedy and his family often enjoyed riding, golf and other recreational activities there, and Kennedy often allowed White House staff and Cabinet members to use the retreat when he or his family were not there. Lyndon B. Johnson met with advisors in this setting and hosted both Australian prime minister Harold Holt and Canadian prime minister Lester B. Pearson there. Richard Nixon was a frequent visitor. He personally directed the construction of a swimming pool and other improvements to Aspen Lodge. Gerald Ford hosted Indonesian president Suharto at Camp David.
Jimmy Carter initially favored closing Camp David in order to save money. Once Carter actually visited the retreat, he decided to keep it. Carter brokered the Camp David Accords there in September 1978 between Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. Ronald Reagan visited the retreat more than any other president. In 1984, Reagan hosted British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Reagan restored the nature trails that Nixon paved over so he could horseback ride at Camp David. George H. W. Bush's daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch, was married there in 1992, in the first wedding held at Camp David. During his tenure as president, Bill Clinton spent every Thanksgiving at Camp David with his family. In July 2000, he hosted the 2000 Camp David Summit negotiations between Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat there.
In February 2001, George W. Bush held his first meeting with a European leader, UK prime minister Tony Blair, at Camp David, to discuss missile defense, Iraq, and NATO. During his two terms in office, Bush visited Camp David 149 times, for a total of 487 days, for hosting foreign visitors as well as a personal retreat. He met Blair there four times. Among the numerous other foreign leaders he hosted at Camp David were Russian president Vladimir Putin and President Musharraf of Pakistan in 2003, Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen in June 2006, and British prime minister Gordon Brown in 2007.
Barack Obama chose Camp David to host the 38th G8 summit in 2012. President Obama also hosted Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev at Camp David, as well as the GCC Summit there in 2015.
Donald Trump hosted Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan at Camp David while Republicans prepared to defend both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The 46th G7 summit was to be held at Camp David on June 10–12, 2020, but was cancelled due to health concerns during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Count of visits by each presidentEdit
|President||No. of visits||Years in office|
|G. H. W. Bush||124||1989–1993|
|G. W. Bush||150||2001–2009|
Practice golf facilityEdit
To be able to play his favorite sport, President Eisenhower had golf course architect Robert Trent Jones design a practice golf facility at Camp David. Around 1954, Jones built one golf hole – a par 3 – with four different tees; Eisenhower added a 250-yard (228.6 m) driving range near the helicopter landing zone.
On July 2, 2011, an F-15 intercepted a civilian aircraft approximately 6 miles (10 km) from Camp David, when President Obama was in the residence. The two-seater, which was out of radio communication, was escorted to nearby Hagerstown, Maryland, without incident.
On July 10, 2011, an F-15 intercepted another small plane near Camp David when Obama was again in the residence; a total of three were intercepted that weekend.
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill at then-named Shangri-La, May 1943
David Eisenhower (age 12), grandson of President Eisenhower, poses with sign named in his and his great-grandfather's honor, 1960
Eisenhower with John F. Kennedy, in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo
Richard and Pat Nixon walking their dogs in Camp David.
Gerald and Betty Ford, daughter Susan and Liberty, at Camp David
Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher walk at Camp David in 1986.
Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, and George W. Bush at Camp David, April 2007.
Donald Trump is briefed about Hurricane Dorian, August 2019
- Camp Misty Mount Historic District and Camp Greentop Historic District, built at the same time in Catoctin Mountain Park as Camps 1 and 2
- Chequers, the country house of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- Harrington Lake, the retreat of the Prime Minister of Canada
- Night of Camp David, a 1965 novel (political thriller)
- Official residence
- Orange One, a U.S. Navy-operated facility underneath Camp David
- Blair House, another official White House lodging for guests
- Presidential Townhouse, the official guest house for former U.S. presidents
- Rapidan Camp, the predecessor of Camp David from 1929 to 1933
- Site R, bunker and communications center near Camp David
- Trowbridge House, adjacent to Blair House and soon to be renovated to become the new guest house for former presidents
- White House, official residence of the president of the United States since 1800
- "Park Map Viewer". Catoctin Mountain Park. Retrieved on February 4, 2011.
- "Thurmont town, Maryland Archived November 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 4, 2011.
- "Frequently Asked Questions". Catoctin Mountain Park, Retrieved on February 4, 2011. "10. Where is Camp David? The Presidential Retreat is within the park however, it is not open to the public and its location is not shown on our park maps for both security and privacy. If you're interested in historical information, visit our Presidential Retreat webpage."
- "Camp David". National Archives. August 15, 2016. Archived from the original on May 3, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
Officially a U.S. Navy installation, the facility was originally built by the Works Progress Administration as a camp for government employees, opening in 1938. President Franklin D. Roosevelt took it over in a few years and named it "Shangri-La," for the mountain kingdom in Lost Horizon, the 1933 novel by James Hilton. It was renamed in 1953 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in honor of his then-five-year-old grandson, Dwight David Eisenhower II.
- "12 WPA Projects that Still Exist". How Stuff Works. September 16, 2007. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
- Eisenhower, David; Julie Nixon Eisenhower (2010). Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight David Eisenhower, 1961–1969. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 31.
- "Camp David". Whitehouse.gov. Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
- "Dwight D. Eisenhower: Message Prepared for the Conference on Fitness of American Youth".
- "Eisenhower and Khrushchev meet for talks". HISTORY. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
- "Camp David | A History of the Presidential Retreat". www.infoplease.com. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
- "272 - Address at the State Department's Foreign Policy Conference for Educators". The American Presidency Project. June 19, 1967.
- W. Dale Nelson, The President is at Camp David (Syracuse University Press, 1995), pp. 69-94.
- "Camp David: A History of the Presidential Retreat". Infoplease.com. July 18, 1942. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
- "Kentucky New Era - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
- Giorgione, Michael (2017). Inside Camp David: The Private World of the Presidential Retreat. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 34–43. ISBN 978-0-316-50961-9.
- Aldous, Richard. (2012). Reagan and Thatcher : the difficult relationship (1st ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 978-0-393-06900-6. OCLC 738350026.
- "Horseback Riding". October 2010.
- "Bush's Daughter Marries With 'a Minimum of Fuss'". The New York Times. June 28, 1992.
- O'Brien, Shannon Bow 2018, p. 178. sfn error: no target: CITEREFO'Brien,_Shannon_Bow2018 (help)
- Shankar, Dakshayani; Wells, Dylan (September 8, 2017). "What to know about presidential retreat Camp David where Trump travels Friday". ABC News. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- Department Of State. The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs. "Trilateral Statement on the Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David". 2001-2009.state.gov. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
- "Bush, Blair conclude meetings at Camp David". CNN. February 24, 2001. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- O'Brien, Shannon Bow 2018, p. 181. sfn error: no target: CITEREFO'Brien,_Shannon_Bow2018 (help)
- Sanger, David (September 27, 2003). "With issues to resolve, Bush welcomes Putin to Camp David". The New York Times. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- "Camp David".
- "President Bush Welcomes President Musharraf to Camp David". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved October 9, 2019 – via National Archives.
- "Brown to meet Bush at Camp David". BBC News Online. July 26, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- "White House moves G8 summit from Chicago to Camp David". CBS Chicago. CBS Chicago. March 5, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- "US hopes Assad can be eased aut with Russia's aid". The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
- "Statement by the Press Secretary on the United States-GCC Summit". whitehouse.gov. April 17, 2015 – via National Archives.
- Manchester, Julia (December 28, 2017). "Trump to host congressional leaders at Camp David". TheHill. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
- Mason, Jeff (March 19, 2020). "Trump cancels G7 at Camp David over coronavirus, to hold videoconference instead". Financial Post. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
- Stoddart, Michelle (February 15, 2021). "Biden plays video games with family, shows off presidential 'swag' at Camp David". ABC News. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
This was Biden's first trip to Camp David as president.
- Piastowski, Nick (May 3, 2020). "Donald Trump is staying at Camp David: A look at its one-hole golf course". Retrieved May 20, 2020.
- "NORAD intercepts aircraft near Camp David, where President Obama staying with family". The Washington Post. July 2, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2012.[dead link]
- Weil, Martin (July 10, 2011). "Jet fighters intercept planes 3 times over weekend near Camp David". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
O'Brien, Shannon Bow (2018) [First published 2018]. Why Presidential Speech Locations Matter: Analyzing Speechmaking from Truman to Obama. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-3-3197-8135-8.
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