Camp David

Camp David is the country retreat for the president of the United States. It is located in the wooded hills of Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont, Maryland and Emmitsburg, Maryland, about 62 miles (100 km) north-northwest of Washington, D.C.[1][2][3] 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), and the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. Naval construction battalions are tasked with base construction and send detachments as needed.

Camp David
Naval Support Facility Thurmont
Catoctin Mountain Park
Frederick County, Maryland, U.S.
Camp David seal
Main Lodge at Camp David during
the presidency of Richard Nixon, February 9, 1971
Coordinates39°38′54″N 77°27′54″W
Camp David
TypeMilitary base
Site information
Owner U.S. Federal Government
Controlled by United States Navy
Open to
the public
Site history
Built1935 (1935)
Built byWorks Progress Administration
EventsCamp David Accords
2000 Camp David Summit
38th G8 summit
Garrison information
Cmdr. Jeremy Ramberg(CEC)
OccupantsPresident of the United States
First Lady of the United States

Originally known as Hi-Catoctin, Camp David was built as a camp for federal government agents and their families by the Works Progress Administration.[4] Construction started in 1935 and was completed in 1938.[5] 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).[4]

Camp David received its present name from Dwight D. Eisenhower, in honor of his father, and grandson, both named David.[6]

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.[3]

Presidential use

Franklin D. Roosevelt hosted Sir Winston Churchill in May 1943.[7] 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.[8] Eisenhower met there with Nikita Khrushchev for two days of discussions in September 1959.[9]

John F. Kennedy and his family often enjoyed riding 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.[9] 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.[10] Richard Nixon was a frequent visitor. He personally directed the construction of a swimming pool and other improvements to Aspen Lodge.[11] Gerald Ford often rode his snowmobile around Camp David and hosted Indonesian President Suharto there.[12]

Jimmy Carter initially favored closing Camp David in order to save money. Once Carter actually visited the place, he decided to keep it.[13] Carter brokered the Camp David Accords there in September 1978 between Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin.[7] Ronald Reagan visited the retreat more than any other president.[9] In 1984, Reagan hosted British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.[9] George H. W. Bush's daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch, was married there in 1992, in the first ever wedding held at Camp David.[14] During Bill Clinton's time in office, British prime minister Tony Blair was among the many visitors that the president hosted at Camp David.[15] He also held the 2000 Camp David Summit between Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat.[16]

George W. Bush hosted dignitaries, including President of Russia Vladimir Putin, there in 2003,[17][18] and hosted British prime minister Gordon Brown, in 2007.[19] He also hosted Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen in June 2006,[20] and President Musharraf of Pakistan at Camp David.[21] Barack Obama chose Camp David to host the 38th G8 summit in 2012.[22] President Obama also hosted Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev at Camp David,[23] as well as the GCC Summit there in 2015.[24] Donald Trump hosted congressional leaders at Camp David as Republicans prepared to defend both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.[25]

Security issues

On July 2, 2011, an F-15 intercepted a small two-seat passenger plane flying near Camp David, when President Obama was in the residence. The civilian aircraft, which was out of radio communication, was intercepted approximately 6 miles (10 km) from the presidential retreat. The F-15 escorted the aircraft out of the area, and it landed in nearby Hagerstown, Maryland, without incident. The civilian plane's occupants were flying between two Maryland towns and were released without charge.[26]

On July 10, 2011, an F-15 intercepted another small two-seat passenger plane flying near Camp David when Obama was again in the residence; a total of three planes were intercepted over that July 9 weekend.[27]

See also


  1. "Park Map Viewer". Catoctin Mountain Park. Retrieved on February 4, 2011.
  2. "Thurmont town, Maryland". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 4, 2011.
  3. "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."
  4. "Camp David". National Archives. August 15, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  5. "12 WPA Projects that Still Exist". How Stuff Works. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  6. 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.
  7. "Camp David". Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  8. "Dwight D. Eisenhower: Message Prepared for the Conference on Fitness of American Youth".
  9. Campbell, Douglas E. (December 27, 2016). Continuity of Government: How the U.S. Government Functions After All Hell Breaks Loose. p. 115. ISBN 9781365614422.
  10. "272 - Address at the State Department's Foreign Policy Conference for Educators". The American Presidency Project. June 19, 1967.
  11. W. Dale Nelson, The President is at Camp David (Syracuse University Press, 1995), pp. 69-94.
  12. "Camp David: A History of the Presidential Retreat". July 18, 1942. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  13. "Kentucky New Era - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  14. "Bush's Daughter Marries With 'a Minimum of Fuss'". The New York Times. June 28, 1992.
  15. E., CAMPBELL, DOUGLAS (2016). CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT : how the u.s. government functions after all hell breaks loose. [S.l.]: LULU COM. ISBN 9781365614422. OCLC 983641588.
  16. Department Of State. The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs. "Trilateral Statement on the Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  17. Sanger, David (September 27, 2003). "With issues to resolve, Bush welcomes Putin to Camp David". The New York Times. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  18. "Camp David".
  19. "Brown to meet Bush at Camp David". BBC News Online. July 26, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  20. "President Bush to Host Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen at Camp David". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  21. "President Bush Welcomes President Musharraf to Camp David". Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  22. "White House moves G8 summit from Chicago to Camp David". CBS Chicago. CBS Chicago. March 5, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  23. "US hopes Assad can be eased aut with Russia's aid". The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
  24. "Statement by the Press Secretary on the United States-GCC Summit". April 17, 2015.
  25. Manchester, Julia (December 28, 2017). "Trump to host congressional leaders at Camp David". TheHill. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  26. "NORAD intercepts aircraft near Camp David, where President Obama staying with family". The Washington Post. July 2, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
  27. Weil, Martin (July 10, 2011). "Jet fighters intercept planes 3 times over weekend near Camp David". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
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