Rapidan Camp


Rapidan Camp

Infobox_nrhp | name =Camp Hoover
nrhp_type = nhld



caption = The Rapidan Camp "Brown House" in Hoover's Time
nearest_city= Syria, Virginia
locmapin = Virginia
area =
built =1929
architect= Hoover,Lou Henry; US Marine Corps
architecture= Other
designated= June 07, 1988cite web|url=http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=2039&ResourceType=District
title=Camp Hoover |accessdate=2008-06-26|work=National Historic Landmark summary listing|publisher=National Park Service
]
added = June 07, 1988
governing_body = National Park Service
refnum=88001825cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]

Rapidan Camp (also known at times as Camp Hoover) in Shenandoah National Park in Madison County, Virginia was built by U.S. President Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou Henry Hoover, and served as their rustic retreat throughout Hoover's administration from 1929 to 1933. [cite web
title = Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum Frequently Asked Questions
publisher = National Archives and Records Administration
url = http://www.hoover.nara.gov/info/faq.html
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] The first family's residential cabin was known as the "Brown House" in contrast to their more famous residence, the White House.

Rapidan Camp was precursor of the current presidential retreat, Camp David.

1929: Founding

In November 1928, Herbert Hoover was overwhelmingly elected as 31st President of the United States. While all preceding Presidents came from the Eastern United States, Hoover's origins were further from Washington, DC—he had been born in Iowa, and spent much of his life in California. Returning home to routinely escape the pressure and spotlight of the presidency would not be possible, so he desired a closer casual retreat.

He and his wife had lived together at mining camps for over 10 years, and appreciated the isolation of remote accommodations. He instructed his secretary Lawrence Richey to find a secluded retreat site within 100 miles (160 km) of Washington, D.C., at least 2,500 feet (760 m) above sea level to avoid mosquitoes, and—most importantly—close to an excellent trout stream for fishing. [Citation
last = Weaver, Jr.
first = Warren
title = Washington talk: Presidential Retreats; The Camp That Was Hoover's
newspaper = New York Times
date = 1987-08-14
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE0D81F3FF937A2575BC0A961948260
accessdate = 2008-04-06
.
]

Virginia Governor Harry F. Byrd was a strong supporter of plans to establish Shenandoah National Park, and persuaded Will Carson to lead the effort. Two months before Hoover's March inauguration Carson recommended the President-elect and his wife, Lou Henry Hoover, consider establishing their camp at the headwaters of the Rapidan River. The remote, undeveloped site lay on Doubletop Mountain, on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Madison County. [Citation
last = Raines
first = Howell
title = Fishing With Presidents
newspaper = New York Times
date = 1993-09-05
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE0DD113AF936A3575AC0A965958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all
] The Mill Prong and the Laurel Prong streams join within the camp to form the Rapidan River, and all three provide excellent fishing.

Less than three weeks after Hoover's March 4 inauguration, the "Madison Eagle" announced the President and his wife had selected the upper Rapidan site. Although Virginians offered to give Hoover the camp, the President used his own funds to buy the land for $1,045 (at the going rate of $5 per acre), and building materials for $22,719. [cite book
last = Mayer
first = Dale C.
title = Lou Henry Hoover: A Prototype for First Ladies
publisher = Nova Publishers
date = 2004
url = https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1358
location = Hauppauge, New York
pages = page 269
isbn = 1-59033-806-5
] [cite book
last = Hunter
first = Thomas Lomax
title = The President's Camp on the Rapidan (pamphlet)
publisher = Virginia State Commission on Conservation and Development
date = 1931
location = Richmond, Virginia
] The Marine Corps provided construction labor as a "military exercise." [Citation
last = Weaver, Jr.
first = Warren
title = Washington talk: Presidential Retreats; The Camp That Was Hoover's
newspaper = New York Times
date = 1987-08-14
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE0D81F3FF937A2575BC0A961948260
accessdate = 2008-04-06
.
] The Hoovers initially envisioned a village of tents, but soon decided on a more permanent settlement. The Marines built thirteen assorted buildings including a lodge, two mess halls, cabins and a "Town Hall." They also created several miles of hiking trails, a stone fountain, concrete-lined trout pools, and a miniature golf course [cite news
title = The Hoover Week
work = Time
date = 1930-08-25
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,740113,00.html
accessdate = 2008-06-28
] . Mrs. Hoover oversaw construction.

To reduce the Presidential budget, Hoover decommissioned the Presidential Yacht "Mayflower" shortly after taking office. The Filipino mess crew from the "Mayflower" were transferred to Rapidan Camp, along with the kitchen supplies and china. [cite book
last = Wert
first = Hal Elliott
title = Hoover, the Fishing President: Portrait of the Private Man and His Life
publisher = Stackpole Books
date = January 2005
pages = pages 185-186
isbn = 0811700992
]

1929–1933: Presidential Retreat

At the 164 acre (66 hectare) Rapidan Camp, President Hoover enjoyed fishing in the streams, which were stocked with trout by the Interior Department. [cite news
title = The Hoover Week
work = Time
date = 1932-04-11
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,743493,00.html
accessdate = 2008-06-28
] While Mrs. Hoover enjoyed riding horses at camp, Mr. Hoover did not enjoy riding horses simply to reach the camp. The state of Virginia added a one-mile extension from Rapidan Camp to a nearby road they had already planned. The road remains unpaved to this day, and occasionally challenged the presidential motorcade. The "New York Times" described camp as "frontier-like". [Citation
last = Hornaday
first = Mary
title = Where the President Puts Care Aside: Informality Rules at Rapidan Camp, Isolated in Wild Mountains and Enveloped by the Peace of the Woods
newspaper = New York Times
pages = Pages SM5, 16
date = 1932-06-12
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00D17FF3B5A13738DDDAB0994DE405B828FF1D3
accessdate = 2008-07-31
] Mrs. Hoover described the drive and camp:

cquote|This camp,—at the end of nowhere, with a road that in wet weather lets you sink to your hubs in slushy mush and while there bump over the most amazing boulders…—has electric lights and a telephone and its morning papers. The mail is dropped from an airplane! [cite web
last = Updyke
first = Gloria
title = Restoring a National Historic Landmark: President and Mrs. Hoover's Rapidan Camp, Shenandoah National Park
date = 2004-10-06
publisher = National Park Service
url = http://www.nps.gov/shen/3b2c.htm
accessdate = 2008-02-01
] |30px|30px|Mrs. Lou Henry Hoover

In a public speech at the celebration of "Hoover Day" in the county seat of Madison, on August 17, 1929, President Hoover spoke of fishing and his camp:cquote|

I fear that the summer camp we have established on the Rapidan has the reputation of being devoted solely to fishing. That is not the case, for the fishing season lasts but a short time in the spring. It is a place for weekend rest—but fishing is an excuse and a valid reason of the widest range of usefulness for temporary retreat from our busy world.

In this case it is the excuse for return to the woods and streams with their retouch of the simpler life of the frontier from which every American springs…. Fishing seems to be the sole avenue left to Presidents through which they may escape to their own thoughts and may live in their own imaginings and find relief from the pneumatic hammer of constant personal contacts, and refreshment of mind in the babble of rippling brooks.

Moreover, it is a constant reminder of the democracy of life, of humility, and of human frailty—for all men are equal before fishes. And it is desirable that the President of the United States should be periodically reminded of this fundamental fact—that the forces of nature discriminate for no man. [cite web
last = Woolley
first = John T.
coauthors = Gerhard Peters
title = Remarks to the People of Madison County, Virginia, at the Celebration of 'Hoover Day in Madison': August 17, 1929
work = The American Presidency Project
publisher = University of California
url = http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=21894
accessdate = 2008-04-07
]
30px|30px|Herbert Hoover

U.S. and foreign leaders came to the isolated and secure location of Rapidan Camp for strategy sessions with the President. His distinguished guests included inventor Thomas A. Edison and his wife [cite news
title = Fish, Fun, Films
work = Time
date = 1932-08-29
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,744223,00.html
accessdate = 2008-06-28
] , aviator Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Supreme Court Justice H. F. Stone, Governor Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. [cite news
title = Key Men
work = Time
date = 1931-10-05
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,753024-3,00.html
accessdate = 2008-06-23
] , Psychologist Lillian Moller Gilbreth, Businessman Edsel Ford [cite news
title = Way Out
work = Time
date = 1931-06-01
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,752848,00.html
accessdate = 2008-06-28
] , and British Prime Ministers Ramsay MacDonald and Winston Churchill. [cite web
last = Philippon
first = Daniel J.
title = The Backyard of Presidents
work = Landmarks of American Nature Writing
publisher = University of Virginia
date = 1997-07-14
url = http://www.lib.virginia.edu/small/exhibits/nature/backyard.html
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] The President and guests would head immediately for the fishing ponds after arriving at camp. [Citation
title = Hoover at Rapidan Catches 20 Trout; President Leads All in Party with Legal Limit on First Day in Fishing Camp
newspaper = New York Times
pages = Page 1
date = 1931-04-19
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20A1EFE3A5814738DDDA00994DC405B818FF1D3
accessdate = 2008-07-31
]

The press were rarely, if ever, invited to Rapidan Camp with the President, until his final year in office when he campaigned for a second term and "invited a massed attack by film men who were given the run of the camp." [cite news
title = Fish, Fun, Films
work = Time
date = 1932-08-29
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,744223,00.html
accessdate = 2008-06-28
]

Hoover's trips to camp were sometimes leisurely enough that he stopped for a roadside picnic. "Motorists paused along the highway, gaped at their President having fun." [cite news
title = The Hoover Week
work = Time
date = 1931-08-24
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,752964,00.html
accessdate = 2008-06-28
] At other times, his departure from camp to Washington was so sudden that sandwiches were dispatched from the camp kitchen to the President for consumption en-route [cite news
title = Sandwiches & Success
work = Time
date = 1931-07-13
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,741992,00.html
accessdate = 2008-06-28
] , and Hoover was "intensely annoyed" when the press reported that his motorcade had sped at 60 miles per hour, in violation of Virginia's speed limit of 45. [cite news
title = Leaks
work = Time
date = 1931-07-20
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,742040,00.html
accessdate = 2008-06-28
] Lou Henry Hoover sometimes drove her own car. [Citation
title = Mrs. Hoover Takes Party To Rapidan: Ladies in Group Driven to Camp by Wife of the President
newspaper = The Washington Post
pages = Page S4
date = 1930-07-13
url = http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost_historical/access/238667912.html?dids=238667912:238667912&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=JUL+13%2C+1930&author=&pub=The+Washington+Post&desc=Mrs.+Hoover+Takes+Party+To+Rapidan
accessdate = 2008-07-31
]

Camp Rapidan featured a large outdoor stone fireplace which was the backdrop for many photographs of the Hoovers and their guests.

At Rapidan Camp, President Hoover offered to buy Bermuda, Trinidad, and British Honduras from Prime Minister MacDonald in exchange for most of Britain's war debt (from World War I) to the United States. But days later came the Wall Street Crash that marked the beginning of the Great Depression. [Citation
last = Weaver, Jr.
first = Warren
title = Washington talk: Presidential Retreats; The Camp That Was Hoover's
newspaper = New York Times
date = 1987-08-14
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE0D81F3FF937A2575BC0A961948260
accessdate = 2008-04-06
.
] In addition, Hoover and MacDonald came to an agreement that formed the basis of the 1930 London Naval Treaty while meeting at Rapidan Camp, talking for hours sitting on an "historic log". [cite news
title = Thalassocrats
work = Time
date = 1929-10-14
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,752112,00.html?iid=chix-sphere
accessdate = 2008-04-07
] [cite book
last = Steiner
first = Zara S.
title = The Lights that Failed: European International History 1919-1933
publisher = Oxford University Press
date = 2005
pages = page 588
isbn = 0198221142
] [cite book
last = Mares
first = Bill
title = Fishing With the Presidents
publisher = Stackpole Publishing
date = 1999
pages = page 72
isbn = 0811727688
] Rapidan Camp also gave name to the "Rapidan Plan" for deploying the Girl Scouts to help alleviate the economic collapse. [cite book
last = Walch
first = Timothy
title = Uncommon Americans: The Lives and Legacies of Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover
publisher = Greenwood Publishing Group
date = 2003
pages = pages 160-161
isbn = 0275979962
]

Hoover's birthday opossum and the Mountain School

A well-publicized story arose in August 1929, when a boy who lived in the nearby mountains presented President Hoover with a live opossum on his 55th birthday. Six months later, the President arranged for a new schoolhouse in the area, which had been so remote that no school existed previously. The incident resulted in a variety of legends and a great deal of apocryphal media publicity, [cite book
last = Wert
first = Hal Elliott
title = Hoover, the Fishing President: Portrait of the Private Man and His Life
publisher = Stackpole Books
date = January 2005
pages = pages 187-189
isbn = 0811700992
] including tales that the boy had managed to sneak past the Marine guard on duty before giving the opossum to the President as a birthday present.

However, the best understanding of historians is that the story originated weeks earlier when Admiral Joel T. Boone, Hoover's physician, was exploring trails in the surrounding mountains and came upon an eleven-year old boy named Ray Burraker. Boone learned that Burraker and his eight brothers and sisters had never attended school. The area in which they lived, known as Dark Hollow, had no school. [cite book
last = Mayer
first = Dale C.
title = Lou Henry Hoover: A Prototype for First Ladies
publisher = Nova Publishers
date = 2004
url = https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1358
location = Hauppauge, New York
pages = pages 271-273
isbn = 1-59033-806-5
] When the President heard of Burraker, he said "Tell that boy if he will bring me an opossum down here I'll give him five dollars." Boone delivered the message, but nothing happened until August 10, the President's birthday, when Boone visited Dark Hollow again on horseback. The boy said he had caught an opossum for the President. With the inducement of riding to camp, the shy boy was persuaded to present his opossum directly to the President and his guest, Charles Lindbergh. [cite book
last = Lambert
first = Darwin
title = Herbert Hoover's Hideaway: The Story of Camp Hoover on the Rapidan River in Shenandoah National Park (Chapter V: The Possum-Boy and the Mountain School)
publisher = Shenandoah Natural History Association
date = 1971
url = http://www.snpbooks.org/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SNPA&Product_Code=HHH
location = Luray, Virginia
pages = pages 82-100
isbn = 0931606047
] Anne Morrow Lindbergh was amused to hear that Burraker and his friends had never heard of her famous husband. [Citation
last = Hornaday
first = Mary
title = Where the President Puts Care Aside: Informality Rules at Rapidan Camp, Isolated in Wild Mountains and Enveloped by the Peace of the Woods
newspaper = New York Times
pages = Pages SM5, 16
date = 1932-06-12
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00D17FF3B5A13738DDDAB0994DE405B828FF1D3
accessdate = 2008-07-31
]

The President raised money to build a small schoolhouse that included an apartment for Christine Vest, the teacher they hired. Vest had been trained in the special needs of education in remote mountain communities. The first year's class of twenty-two students [Citation
title = Mrs. Hoover Visits School Near Rapidan
newspaper = New York Times
pages = Page 3
date = 1930-07-18
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70C1FF73B5C157A93CAA8178CD85F448385F9
accessdate = 2008-07-31
] ranged from 6 to 20 years of age. [cite web
last = Woolley
first = John T.
coauthors = Gerhard Peters
title = Papers of Herbert Hoover: Rapidan Community School
work = The American Presidency Project
publisher = University of California
date = 1930-02-23
url = http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=22526
accessdate = 2008-04-10
]

The story of the backwoods mountain schoolhouse was publicized nationally, resulting in donations including schoolbooks, furniture, and a piano. The President took a personal interest in the school, and welcomed its students to the White House on numerous occasions. After Hoover left office, the student body dwindled as the surrounding population was forced via a blanket condemnation law to leave the area for the establishment of Shenandoah National Park in 1935. [cite web
last = Gilliam
first = George H.
coauthors = William G. Thomas III
title = The Story of Shenandoah National Park
work = The Ground Beneath Our Feet: The History of Virginia Since The Civil War
publisher = Octagon Multimedia
date = 1998
url = http://www.vahistory.org/shenandoah.html
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] The school building was transported to Big Meadows on Skyline Drive and used as a ranger station and residence.

Cabinet Members' Camp

In 1930, Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur, Attorney General William D. Mitchell, and Secretary of Agriculture Arthur M. Hyde arranged for the Marines to construct a separate camp for members of Hoover's cabinet, two miles downriver from the President's camp. The Cabinet Camp was built on land planned for incorporation into Shenandoah National Park, but still privately owned by the Madison Timber Corporation. No lease was signed [Citation
title = Ask Value of Land Near Hoover Camp: Virginia Appraisers Seek Facts on Which to Base Payments for Shenandoah Park
newspaper = New York Times
pages = Page 29
date = 1931-06-09
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0615F83C54157A93CBA9178DD85F458385F9
accessdate = 2008-07-31
] , and a dispute arose about whether the Cabinet members had an oral contract with Madison Timber to construct the camp. Marines escorted timbermen off the property "by the seat of the pants," and Madison Timber was assessed property taxes for road and building improvements to which the Marines prohibited access. The conflict was covered in "Time" magazine [cite news
title = Squatters
work = Time
date = 1931-06-22
pages = page 16
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,741832,00.html
accessdate = 2008-04-10
] , the Associated Press, and "Madison Eagle" newspaper. [cite book
last = Lambert
first = Darwin
title = Herbert Hoover's Hideaway: The Story of Camp Hoover on the Rapidan River in Shenandoah National Park
publisher = Shenandoah Natural History Association
date = 1971
url = http://www.snpbooks.org/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SNPA&Product_Code=HHH
location = Luray, Virginia
pages = page 143
isbn = 0931606047
] In 1931, the Ward-Rue Lumber Company filed a claim that it owned the property. [Citation
title = Firm Enters Claim for Cabinet Camp; Tract on Rapidan Never was Leased From Company, Commissioners Told
newspaper = The Washington Post
pages = page 1
date = 1931-06-09
url = http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost_historical/access/240126392.html?dids=240126392:240126392&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT
accessdate = 2008-07-31
] Under the eventual settlement, cabinet members were allowed to use the camp throughout the Hoover administration, and the property owner resumed custody once Hoover left office. The National Park Service ran out of park expansion funds before purchasing the Cabinet Camp. The rising value of the property once the road and camp were constructed likely led the state to purchase cheaper park expansion land elsewhere.

In 1953, a cooperative of 14 families called [http://www.rapidancamps.org/ Rapidan Camps] was created to purchase the dilapidated Cabinet Camp from Ward-Rue. Rapidan Camps rehabilitated the cabins, and over the decades its membership has grown to approximately 100 families who share the facility as a seasonal retreat. [cite web
last = Jones
first = Tom
title = History of Rapidan Camps
publisher = Rapidan Camps
url = http://www.rapidancamps.org/rapidan/history.asp
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] The camp now has five cabins—three of the four original Hoover-era cabins and two constructed since in a similar architectural style. It is designated on local hiking maps as "Rapidan Family Camp" to distinguish it from the name the National Park Service restored to the President's main camp in 2004, "Rapidan Camp". [cite map
publisher = Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
title = Map 10. AT Shenandoah National Park (Central District)
url = http://www.patc.us/store/PA170.htm
edition = 20th
year=2003
accessdate = 2008-04-10
]

Marine Camp

A separate camp was constructed one mile to the east of Camp Rapidan to house the Marines who provided the camp's construction, maintenance, and security. The camp initially consisted largely of tents with a few wooden cabins, but more cabins eventually replaced the tents. Many Marines were selected for Rapidan duty due to their skills in carpentry, plumbing, and other work needed at camp. When the President was at camp, from 150 to 250 Marines were stationed there; during the winter only about a dozen. [cite book
last = Lambert
first = Darwin
title = Herbert Hoover's Hideaway: The Story of Camp Hoover on the Rapidan River in Shenandoah National Park
publisher = Shenandoah Natural History Association
date = 1971
url = http://www.snpbooks.org/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SNPA&Product_Code=HHH
location = Luray, Virginia
pages = pages 30-31
isbn = 0931606047
]

When local Virginians complained that the Marines were not attending church, the President ordered a Navy Chaplain to provide Sunday services in the Marine Camp mess hall. [cite news
title = Place for a Friend
work = Time
date = 1930-09-01
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,740178,00.html
accessdate = 2008-04-11
]

The Marine Camp was demolished in 1944.

1933–2000: Federal and Boy Scout camp

When President Hoover lost his bid for re-election in 1932, he and his wife offered the camp for use by subsequent Presidents, and donated the camp property to the federal government to become part of the new Shenandoah National Park then under development. [cite web
last = Woolley
first = John T.
coauthors = Gerhard Peters
title = Letter Proposing Incorporation of Camp Rapidan Into the Shenandoah National Park.
work = The American Presidency Project
publisher = University of California
url = http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=21885
accessdate = 2008-04-06
] [Citation
title = Hoover Deeds Camp to State of Virginia; President Gives Rapidan Area for Park in Hope His Successors Will Use It
newspaper = New York Times
pages = Page 3
date = 1933-01-11
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40710FF3C5C16738DDDA80994D9405B838FF1D3
accessdate = 2008-07-31
]

Roosevelt administration

With encouragement from Virginia Governor Pollard and Senator Byrd, President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Rapidan Camp in 1933 [Citation
title = Propose Rapidan Camp: Virginians Ask Roosevelt to Use Camp Favored by Hoover
newspaper = New York Times
pages = Page 17
date = 1933-03-29
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10810F93C5F1A7A93CBAB1788D85F478385F9
accessdate = 2008-07-31
] [Citation
title = Roosevelt Visits Rapidan on Picnic; On First Full Holiday Since He Took Office, He Has Lunch at Hoover Retreat
newspaper = New York Times
pages = Page 15
date = 1933-04-10
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10A1FF8355B147589DDA90994DC405B838FF1D3
accessdate = 2008-07-31
] , but found the narrow trails too rough for his wheelchair, and the mountain streams too cold for swimming. A plan was drafted to install a heated swimming pool for Roosevelt, but never implemented. In 1935, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes reported, "President Roosevelt is not able to make such use of the camp as President Hoover undoubtedly had in mind. Whether it is to continue to be a Presidential camp must, therefore, be left for future determination." FDR went on to establish his retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland at Camp Shangri-La, later renamed Camp David. While the Park Service pledged to maintain Rapidan Camp [Citation
title = Park Service to Repair Hoover's Rapidan Camp
newspaper = Christian Science Monitor
pages = Page 9
date = 1935-10-10
url = http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/csmonitor_historic/access/307663632.html?dids=307663632:307663632&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&date=Oct+10%2C+1935&author=Special+to+The+Christian+Science+Monitor&pub=Christian+Science+Monitor
accessdate = 2008-07-31
] , in 1936, the "New York Times" described rust and dry rot at the camp, which was still protected by seven Marines. The "historic log" Hoover and MacDonald had conferred on was devoured by woodpeckers. [Citation
title = Hoover Hill Camp Ending in Dry Rot: Rains Leave Water Puddles in Bedroom Used by the Ex-President at Rapidan; Rust Eating his Shower; Place Is Seldom Used Now—Roosevelt Has Been There Only Once, His Wife Twice
newspaper = New York Times
pages = Page N7
date = 1936-03-22
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40815FA345C167B93C0AB1788D85F428385F9
accessdate = 2008-07-31
]

During FDR's tenure, Rapidan Camp was used by Cabinet members, particularly Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson who spent much time at camp until he died there in 1939. The camp then fell into disrepair. [cite book
last = Lambert
first = Darwin
title = Herbert Hoover's Hideaway: The Story of Camp Hoover on the Rapidan River in Shenandoah National Park
publisher = Shenandoah Natural History Association
date = 1971
url = http://www.snpbooks.org/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SNPA&Product_Code=HHH
location = Luray, Virginia
pages = pages 120-139
isbn = 0931606047
]

Boy Scout camp

In 1946, the Shenandoah Park Superintendent reported that the camp was unused, and requested federal funds for repairs or demolition. In 1948, the Boy Scouts of America were granted a 20-year lease to use it as a summer camp, which was also in accordance with Hoover's wishes. During its use as a Boy Scout camp, the facility was renamed "Camp Hoover." As maintenance costs rose, however, the scouts withdrew from the lease in 1958. In 1960, the structures built by the Boy Scouts and many decayed Hoover-era buildings were demolished, leaving only three of the original buildings.

Federal retreat

From 1960 to 1963, further rehabilitation work was done at camp. Some Presidents have expressed interest in the camp, but Jimmy Carter was the first President since FDR to visit. [cite book
last = Lambert
first = Darwin
title = Herbert Hoover's Hideaway: The Story of Camp Hoover on the Rapidan River in Shenandoah National Park
publisher = Shenandoah Natural History Association
date = 1971
url = http://www.snpbooks.org/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SNPA&Product_Code=HHH
location = Luray, Virginia
pages = page 142
isbn = 0931606047
] Until 1992, the camp was a vacation perk for high-ranking federal government officials [cite book
last = Backcountry Wilderness Management Plan Task Force
coauthors = Steve Bair, Jenny Dems, Shawn Green, Laurie Shannon, Terry Lindsay, Hank Snyder, Greg Stiles, Rol Hesselbart
title = Shenandoah National Park: BackCountry & Wilderness Management Plan
publisher = National Park Service
date = revised August 1998
pages = Chapter 6 Page 4
url = http://wilderness.nps.gov/document/shenandoah.pdf
] , including Alaska Senator Ted Stevens and Vice President Walter Mondale, who was snowed in on one visit and had to be cut out by Secret Service officers with chainsaws. [Citation
last = Langley
first = Monica
title = Perks at Parks Help Perk Up Vacations of Federal VIPs: If You Rate, a Cheap Holiday Is Yours at National Site; Danger of Being ‘Bumped’
newspaper = Wall Street Journal
year = 1981
.
] Vice President Al Gore was one of the last senior government executives to stay there overnight. [Citation
last = Blackwell
first = Mary Alice
author-link = mailto:mblackwell@dailyprogress.com
title = There’s no place like Brown home
newspaper = Charlottesville Daily Progress
date = 2008-06-22
url = http://www.dailyprogress.com/cdp/lifestyles/columnists/article/theres_no_place_like_brown_home/23826/
accessdate = 2008-06-25
] .

The camp was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, under the name "Camp Hoover". [cite web
last = Escherich
first = Susan
title = National Historic Landmarks Program: Camp Hoover
publisher = National Park Service
date = 2003-04-16
url = http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=2039&ResourceType=District
accessdate = 2008-04-07
]

2001–present: Restored, opened to public

In 2004, Shenandoah National Park completed a restoration of the grounds and the remaining three cabins to their condition in the era of the Hoover presidency. The three buildings are the Brown House (President's Cabin), the Prime Minister's Cabin, and the Creel. Interpretive signs have been installed to help visitors understand life in 1931, the mid-point of the Hoover presidency. The camp's name has been officially changed from Camp Hoover back to Rapidan Camp. During the restoration, many post-Hoover improvements were removed. [cite web
last = Updyke
first = Gloria
title = Restoring a National Historic Landmark: President and Mrs. Hoover's Rapidan Camp, Shenandoah National Park
date = 2004-10-06
publisher = National Park Service
url = http://www.nps.gov/shen/3b2c.htm
accessdate = 2008-02-01
] [Citation
last = Hedelt
first = Rob
author-link = mailto:rhedelt@freelancestar.com
title = Renovating Rapidan Camp
newspaper = Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
date = 2005-10-09
url = http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2005/102005/10092005/135879
]

The river is still known for its trout fishing—Trout Unlimited ranks it #38 in their "Guide to America's 100 Best Trout Streams". [cite book
last = Ross
first = John
title = Trout Unlimited's Guide to America's 100 Best Trout Streams
publisher = Globe Pequot
date = 2005
url = http://www.globepequot.com/globepequot/index.cfm?fuseaction=customer.product&product_code=1-59228-585-6
location = Guilford, Connecticut
pages = pages 135-138
isbn = 1-59228-585-6
]

Public access

Rapidan Camp is accessible by a 4.1 mile (6 km) round-trip hike on Mill Prong Trail, which begins on Skyline Drive at Milam Gap (Mile 52.8)—see the guide to the hike at [cite web
title = Camp Hoover / Rapidan Camp Guide
publisher = Hiking Upward
url = http://www.hikingupward.com/SNP/CampHoover/
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] . The National Park Service also offers guided van trips that leave from the Harry F. Byrd Visitor Center at Big Meadows. [cite web
title = Shenandoah National Park President & Mrs. Hoover's Rapidan Camp
publisher = National Park Service
date = 2007-05-15
url = http://www.nps.gov/shen/historyculture/rapidancamp.htm
accessdate = 2008-04-04
] [Citation
last = Warren
first = Tim
author-link = http://projects.washingtonpost.com/staff/email/tim+warren/
title = Hooked on Hoover's Shenandoah Retreat
newspaper = The Washington Post
pages = page C02
date = 2008-07-16
url = http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/15/AR2008071502470.html?sid=ST2008071502555
] During much of the spring, summer, and fall, an interpretive guide stays at camp and provides tours. The Brown House is decorated as it was in Hoover's day; the Prime Minister's Cabin contains interpretive exhibits. The camp is also accessible from the extremely rough, unpaved Quaker Run Road accessible near Criglersville. However, vehicles are prohibited beyond a fire gate at the park boundary one mile from camp, with very limited parking. [cite map
publisher = Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
title = Map 10. AT Shenandoah National Park (Central District)
url = http://www.patc.us/store/PA170.htm
edition = 20th
year=2003
accessdate = 2008-04-10
] Visitors must reach the camp on foot, as bicycles are prohibited on unpaved roads within the park. [cite web
title = Shenandoah National Park - Bicycling
work = Shenandoah National Park Website
publisher = National Park Service
url = http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/biking.htm
accessdate = 2008-08-05
] Backcountry camping is prohibited within 1/2 mile of Rapidan Camp. [cite web
title = Shenandoah National Park - Backcountry Camping - Regulations
work = Shenandoah National Park Website
publisher = National Park Service
url = http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/campbc_regs.htm
accessdate = 2008-08-05
]

Architecture

To design the cabins at Rapidan Camp, Lou Henry Hoover hired an architect who had built Girl Scout camps. [Citation
last = Blackwell
first = Mary Alice
author-link = mailto:mblackwell@dailyprogress.com
title = There’s no place like Brown home
newspaper = Charlottesville Daily Progress
date = 2008-06-22
url = http://www.dailyprogress.com/cdp/lifestyles/columnists/article/theres_no_place_like_brown_home/23826/
accessdate = 2008-06-25
] The facilities were extremely rustic by modern standards. Some of the early structures such as the original Five Tents had just a wooden floor and three-foot high walls, with canvas tents above. [cite web
last = Updyke
first = Gloria
title = Restoring a National Historic Landmark: President and Mrs. Hoover's Rapidan Camp, Shenandoah National Park
date = 2004-10-06
publisher = National Park Service
url = http://www.nps.gov/shen/3b2c.htm
accessdate = 2008-02-01
] Even the President's Cabin was built with single-wall uninsulated construction—slats of German Siding nailed to studs and exposed on both sides. There are no interior ceilings; rafters and roof boards are exposed. Shower stalls have tin walls and concrete floors. During Hoover's administration, cabin porches were decorated with boxes filled with geraniums, and interior floors were covered with grass rugs. [Citation
last = Hornaday
first = Mary
title = Where the President Puts Care Aside: Informality Rules at Rapidan Camp, Isolated in Wild Mountains and Enveloped by the Peace of the Woods
newspaper = New York Times
pages = Pages SM5, 16
date = 1932-06-12
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00D17FF3B5A13738DDDAB0994DE405B828FF1D3
accessdate = 2008-07-31
] The camp was modified throughout Hoover's presidency with new cabins and additions to existing cabins.

On cold days, large stone fireplaces provide some warmth, but were not intended to keep the camp warm in winter. There was never a shortage of firewood in Hoover's day because the chestnut blight had ravaged the forest; after her first visit to the Rapidan area, Mrs. Hoover had written "There are innumerable, enormous dead chestnuts standing all over the place." [cite book
last = Lambert
first = Darwin
title = Herbert Hoover's Hideaway: The Story of Camp Hoover on the Rapidan River in Shenandoah National Park
publisher = Shenandoah Natural History Association
date = 1971
url = http://www.snpbooks.org/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SNPA&Product_Code=HHH
location = Luray, Virginia
pages = pages 9-10
isbn = 0931606047
]

On hot days, hinged wooden panels fold down to expose large copper screens to provide a great deal of ventilation. These panels and numerous windows cover most of the outside perimeter of the cabins. From the 1960s through 1980s, they hardly seemed necessary, for the hemlock trees formed a thick canopy and kept the shaded grounds cool. However, in the early 1990s, the hemlock woolly adelgid began destroying the hemlock trees, so the surrounding forest is again scattered with dead and fallen trees as in Hoover's day. [cite web
last = Jones
first = Tom
title = Rapidan Camps Outdoor Plan
publisher = Rapidan Camps
url = http://www.rapidancamps.org/rapidan/OutdoorPlan.asp
accessdate = 2008-04-11
]

The cabins are equipped with electricity and plumbing, with visible wiring snaking along the walls and rafters. Large elevated outdoor decks were built with holes for the trunks of mature live trees, whose branches sheltered the cabins and porches.

A replica of a corner of the President's cabin and surrounding deck is located inside the Hoover Presidential Library in Iowa. [cite web
title = Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum Gallery 8
publisher = National Archives and Records Administration
url = http://www.hoover.nara.gov/exhibits/Hooverstory/gallery08/gallery08.html
accessdate = 2008-04-10
]

References

External links

Visiting Rapidan Camp

* [http://www.nps.gov/ner/customcf/apps/eventcalendar/events/shenevent90671109.html Shenandoah National Park Offers Tours of Rapidan Camp]
* [http://www.hikingupward.com/SNP/CampHoover/ Camp Hoover Hiking Guide from Hiking Upward]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/15/AR2008071502469.html?sid=ST2008071502555&pos=list "Washington Post" Escape Keys article with details for planning a visit ]

Rapidan Camp history

* [http://www.c-span.org/presidentiallibraries/president.aspx?ID=31 C-SPAN Archival videos of President Hoover at Rapidan Camp]
* [http://home.nps.gov/shen/photosmultimedia/photogallery%2Ehtm?eid=85376&aId=98&root_aid=98&sort=title&startRow=1#e_85376 Historic photos from the National Park Service]
* [http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/herblock/presidents.html Cartoon satirizing Hoover's fishing at Rapidan by Herblock at the Library of Congress]


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