May 24, 2008 – Rapidan Camp

If you have been following our blog, last year we hiked down to Rapidan Camp but could not get into any of the buildings. Today, however, we booked a ranger tour to the camp.

Ranger Ginny was our host for the tour and she made Herbert and Lou Hoover just come alive (she must be a great history teacher). We were bused down to the camp and were able to get into 2 of the buildings.

Rapidan Camp was Herbert Hoover’s Summer White House. (It was actually the predecessor to today’s Camp David.) Both Hoovers’ loved the outdoors and initially they were happy to have a tent here but the Secret Service were adamant on a house since they felt they could not protect the president in a tent.

When the house was built, they wanted as little of the landscape disturbed. Notice the rock and trees:

One of the views from the back porch and where Hoover fished:

And we did find out the story of this fireplace. Apparently Lou Hoover wanted a fire burning all season because she loved the smell of the campfire. Since it can get quite hot in the mountains, this fireplace was centrally located (outside) so all in camp could smell the fire.

The inside of the house is beautiful and rustic - sorry no pictures were allowed. There are some original pieces but most are replicas based on pictures. This was such a great tour.

We also found out that the area we looked for the community school was correct however it was moved quite a few years ago and is now the ranger station. The school was originally started by the Hoovers. After Mrs. Hoover died, they found that she sponsored a number of these children through college.

And we came home to find Elliot with his “friends” in the sun.

We have had a great time talking with many of the folks in the campground. We met some fellow Escapees and some ham radio operators (and families). I just love hearing people’s stories…

And another great campfire evening – much warmer than the last couple!!!

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