The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Camp Hoover

By Shenandoah Natural History Association

Issue: August, 1990

Camp Hoover was the weekend retreat of President Herbert Hoover. It is located on the Rapidan River on the east side of the Shenandoah National Park, four miles from Big Meadows.

Camp Hoover was selected by Mr. Hoover shortly after his election in 1928. He was looking for a site near Washington, DC, with good fishing and no mosquitoes. After selection of the perfect place in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Mr. Hoover purchased the land and building materials, and the U.S. Marine Corps constructed the Camp. From 1929 to 1933, the President used the camp as a "Weekend White House," often inviting government officials and foreign dignitaries to enjoy the rustic beauty of the area. The First Lady, Lou Henry Hoover, presided over a "summer camp" atmosphere that was maintained at "Camp Rapidan." It was here that President Hoover and Great Britain's Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald held naval arms negotiations in 1929.

Upon leaving office, the President donated the land and its thirteen rustic cabins to become part of the newly created Shenandoah National Park. His deed of trust required that the area continue to be used as a retreat for high government officials. Today, Camp Hoover is a special part of Shenandoah National Park, rich in scenic beauty and human history. Three of the original buildings have been preserved and restored. As stipulated by President Hoover, the cabins are used as V.I.P. guest accommodations. However, during "Hoover Days" weekend, August 11 and 12, 1990, the public will be able to enjoy the rustic elegance of Herbert Hoover's fishing camp.