A Visit to President Hoover’s Rapidan Camp

The story we dug up on Herbert Hoover’s rural camp the other week piqued our interest in learning more about it, and since it was within driving distance, we wanted to see it in person.

Last weekend Ghosts of DC decided to take a field trip out to Shenandoah to visit Rapidan Camp, the site of President Hoover‘s getaway. This was the precursor to Camp David and a little more rustic.

We — and by “we” I mean my dog and I — headed west for Skyline Drive and south to Big Meadows and a nice two mile hike into the back country. The sign said it was a two hour hike, one-way. I’d like to put it on the record that we made it in one.

So, wandering around the camp we snapped the photos below (sadly no photos were allowed inside Hoover’s cabin, but you can see a couple in the old post).

I won’t share all the interesting facts about the camp here. You can just read the Wikipedia article for that. But, it is interesting to note that Hoovered deeded the property to the U.S. Government upon exiting the White House for use as a presidential retreat. Unfortunately, FDR wasn’t a big fan of the camp since he was in a wheelchair and it was so difficult to get around between buildings. And so, that’s why we now have Camp David (formerly known as Shangri-La).

By the way, Camp David was named after President Eisenhower’s grandson, David.

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • Sam Parsons

    We stumbled into the camp when the Ford kids were there. Of course the SS made us leave But it was interesting

  • Craig Howell

    The Hoovers called the main cabin where they stayed the Brown House to distinguish it from the White House. It was briefly a Boy Scout camp; my older brother was there in the 50s when he had to be evacuated during a hurricane.