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10 Things You Didn't Know About Camp David

Published On 05/04/2015 Published On 05/04/2015

There are serious perks to being the president of the United States of America: extravagant gifts, a personal airplane, a legion of chefs ready to craft a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at any given time, unrelenting scrutiny from the media, Congress on your ass, and a lifetime of stress. Sigh. Luckily, they've got Camp David. 

For over 70 years, this tranquil country retreat has acted as a crucial getaway for those overstressed presidents desperately in need of an escape from the stress of running an entire country. Because America's all about keeping things shrouded in mystery, we hope these 10 facts will shed some light on the most famous camp in the nation.

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1. FDR was the original camp counselor

He never judged talent shows or made macaroni necklaces, but he was the man who officially turned the former military installation into a presidential retreat. He called it the "Shangri-La" which, in my opinion, sounds a little bit like a presidential topless bar with blackjack and hookers.

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2. Camp David is actually named after a guy named David

Obviously, the Shangri-La didn't stick for a long time and it was Dwight Eisenhower who put an end to the overly-glitzy name. Camp David is named after his grandson, whose name is—wait for it—David Eisenhower. Fun fact: The Creedence Clearwater Revival song, "Fortunate Son" was inspired by the wedding of David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon. 

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3. Its exact location is kept hidden from the public 

While we know Camp David resides "somewhere within Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland," maps are not allowed to show the camp's exact location due to safety concerns. The White House, on the other hand? Fair game. 

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4. The camp is made up of 18 different cabins

Including Aspen Lodge—the President's cabin—Laurel Lodge, Hickory Lodge, Holly, Birch, Dogwood, Maple, Witch Hazel, Walnut, Hawthorn, Sycamore, Linden, Chestnut, Red Oak, Eucalyptus, Poplar, Rosebud, and Cedar. When Nikita Khrushchev visited Camp David in 1959, Rosebud was used to house Secret Service agents as well as the Soviet Security team. Worst sleepover ever. 

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5. The counselors could legit kill you

Camp David's staff is primarily made up of members of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. They probably haven't seen Wet Hot American Summer and won't laugh if you ask them where the indoor kids sit.

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6. There's a bowling alley inside

You can thank Dwight D. Eisenhower for installing a two-lane bowling alley in the camp's Hickory Lodge—but wait—there's more: Camp David also has two swimming pools, a tennis court, a skeet range, and a basketball court. Really makes your childhood camp look like a sweatshop, eh? 

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7. Yes, they have presidential golf carts there

Each one is called "Golf Cart One" and it's pretty much the only vehicle any U.S. president is allowed to drive. It also looks like a sick ride

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8. Camp David brought peace to parts of the Middle East

Of all the meetings held at the presidential getaway, one of the most famous were the Camp David Accords, which was a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel spearheaded by Jimmy Carter in 1978.  However, some sh*t went down at the camp also; FDR and Winston Churchill were know to meet up there to discuss the allies' plans for World War II. 
 

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9. The Reagans watched a lot of movies at Camp David

344 to be exact. For whatever reason, there's a complete list online. Notable films include Throw Momma From The Train and Crocodile Dundee II.

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10. George W. Bush spent more time at the camp than any other president

Over 400 days relaxing. The only president who comes close to Bush was Reagan. To be fair, who could blame Bush? There was literally nothing to worry about back then in the early 2000s. 


Jeremy Glass is the Vice editor for Supercompressor and loves hanging out at his house, which he's affectionately nicknamed Camp Jeremy. 

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