Friday, December 2, 2016

Camp David in the 60's

Camp David Catoctin Mountain,  Md.

Camp David Insignia
 1,900 ft. (579.1 m)
 Frederick County, Maryland, USA
 Appalachian Mountains
 +39.648333N  -77.466667 W

November of 1965 to Camp David

Camp David was originally built as a camp for federal government agencies and their families, by the WPA, starting in 1935, opening in 1938. About Camp David

On July 5 1942 the President inspected the retreat, which he had named "Shangri-La" in April. Among the names Roosevelt applied to individual buildings were "The Bear's Den" (the main lodge), "The Soap Dish" (the laundry), "The Baker Street Urchins" (Secret Service building), and "Little Luzon" (Philippine stewards' cabin).

Entrance to the Presidential Retreat (1942)
In April 1942 President Roosevelt visited the camp and chose as its nucleus and his personal residence an existing cabin, a one-room frame structure with a huge stone fireplace, an open porch, and an outside kitchen. Rebuilt by local laborers and the crew of the U.S.S. Potomac, which was transferred to the retreat in June, the completed structure, or lodge, contained a living-dining room, probably the original room; an enlarged, screened-in porch; a bedroom wing to the south; and a kitchen wing to the north. The exterior was constructed of local stone and hardwood; the interior, mainly of commercially obtained materials.

Laborers also assembled a communications building out of three existing cabins; combined two others to form a guest lodge; altered another structure for use as servants' sleeping quarters; and constructed a log gatehouse to guard the access road. Landscaping included selective removal of trees and shrubbery to accommodate the eastward view; additional planting in the vicinity of the main lodge; some clearing to aid in construction; and the obliteration of old service roads. Labor in the swimming pool area involved landscaping, road improvement, and the erection of a frame platform and tent for use as a dressing room. Utility work included the installation of water, power, and telephone lines and an underground intercommunication system.

Main Entrance to Camp David 
Roosevelt's successor, Harry S Truman, used the retreat only a few times. President Eisenhower, however, was a frequent visitor and renamed it Camp David in honor of his grandson. He also re-designated the main lodge as "Aspen." The Eisenhower’s not only repaired, repainted, and refurnished most of the cabins, but they also added a large flagstone terrace and picnic and outdoor cooking facility in the area of the main lodge and also installed a single golf green and several tees. President Eisenhower also had an Underground Bomb Shelter constructed behind Aspen Lodge.

Marine Guard Post at the Entrance to Camp David
Aspen Lodge (1965)
Aspen Lodge after renovations (1970)
Presidents Kennedy and Johnson rarely utilized Camp David.  It was President Nixon's favorite retreat when he was in Washington, not only for relaxing and meeting with foreign dignitaries, but also for working.  Nixon approved extensive modernization of the facilities at the camp, including major renovation to Aspen Lodge, installation of a helicopter pad, new figure-eight swimming pool, bowling alley, and skeet shooting range. There are now 11 residence cabins, including the main guest cabin, which is presently called "Laurel." The President utilizes a three-room cottage, named "Birch," as an office.   

Aspen Lodge Bedroom
Aspen Lodge Living Room           
                   Aspen Lodge (1970)                                 President Nixon with Russian Premier Brezhnev
Camp David Mess Hall (1965)
Originally a barracks and mess hall Hickory was renovated in the early 60’s, it is now the center of activities while staying at Camp David. Hickory now contains a lounge and bar, a movie theater, as well as a two lane bowling alley and a game room with two pool tables.Originally a barracks and mess hall Hickory was renovated in the early 60’s, it is now the center of activities while staying at Camp David. Hickory now contains a lounge and bar, a movie theater, as well as a two lane bowling alley and a game room with two pool tables.

Hickory Lodge (1956)
 The lounge in Hickory Lodge with dance floor
Fully equipped bar in Hickory Lodge

As one of the permanent staff assigned to Camp David, we were allowed to use any of the recreational facilities as long as the President or any VIPs would be visiting.

The most popular facility used by the staff and their families was the swimming pool and bath house which was located near the Mess old mess hall and barracks. The pool also had a built in trampoline where the kids loved to play.
Camp David swimming pool (1966)
The pool bath house (1965) 
Staff Swimming Pool (2014)
LBJ was the last President to use this pool, because when President Nixon took office he made numerous improvements to Camp David including a new pool behind Aspen lodge. The old pool remained for the use by the staff.

Aspen Lodge with new swimming pool (1969)
Navy Operations

Camp David is a U.S. Navy installation, commanded by a Naval Commander. Sailors are mostly Seabees and most officers are in the civil engineering field. The Navy Seabee Detachment performs maintenance and beautification. Some of the sailors include: grounds and maintenance personnel, electricians, carpenters, corpsmen, and the President's cooks (culinary specialists). The White House Communications Agency (WHCA) provided all of the necessary voice and data communications and maintains the electronic fence surrounding the facility. The Marine Guard provided all of the physical security

Marine One landing at Camp David
Army One (1967)