Thursday, August 26, 2010

Birch and Dogwood Cabins

Much has been written about the President's cabin Aspen Lodge.  I was curious about the other guest cabins at Camp David.  The most prominent guest cabins (not including Aspen, Laurel, or Hickory) are the Birch and Dogwood cabins.  These two cabins are located equal distance from the Aspen Lodge.  In a 2007 book Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait, she refers to Birch and Dogwood as the "dignitary" cabins.

Original Birch Cabin (on the right) from the 1950s
Birch and Dogwood started out as single-room cabins when Camp David was first constructed.

 In 1970, it became clear that many of the aging guest cabins would need to be rebuilt due to termite and fungus damage.

Birch and Dogwood were the first to be rebuilt at an estimated cost of $145,000 in 1970-1971.

The new Birch cabin has two bedrooms, two baths, a large living room that opens out to a patio, vaulted ceilings and a large stone fireplace.

During the 1978 peace negotiations held at Camp David, Israeli Prime Minister Begin stayed at Birch.  Gerald Ford also stayed at Birch Cabin when he visited Camp David while serving as Vice-President.

Menahem Begin and Zbigniew Brzezinski play chess outside Birch Cabin - September 1978

In 1971, Tricia Nixon and Ed Cox stayed in newly-refurbished Dogwood cabin at Camp David for their honeymoon following a wedding ceremony held in the Rose Garden at the White House.   In 1973, Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev stayed in Dogwood cabin as a guest of President Nixon.

Also in 1973, Rose Woods, who was President Nixon's secretary, spent a weekend in Dogwood Cabin transcribing the tapes of Nixon's White House conversations about Watergate.  She later testified that the eighteen and a half minute gap in the tape could have accidentally occurred when she leaned over the tape machine to answer the phone.

 In 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat stayed at Dogwood during the peace summit.

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat outside Dogwood cabin in 1978 

Presidents Carter and Sadat meet inside Dogwood Cabin in September 1978

Harold Brown and Cyrus Vance meet with Anwar Sadat and the Egyptian delegation on the deck of  Dogwood cabin

President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin outside Dogwood cabin in September 2003

At the 2012 G8 Summit, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was assigned to Dogwood cabin and French President François Hollande was assigned to Birch. 

Prime Minister Medvedev outside Dogwood cabin - May 2012

President Hollande greets Canadian Prime Minister Harper outside Birch cabin - May 2012

Inside Birch cabin - May 2012

Below you can see how Birch and Dogwood cabins are diplomatically located approximately the same distance from the Aspen Lodge.

Google Maps view of Birch and Dogwood Cabins at Camp David

Sources:  Eisenhower Presidential Library; National Archives; Jimmy Carter Library; Google Maps; Camp David TourThe President is at Camp David; Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait; Daytona Beach Morning Journal; White House; @damedvedevPrime Minister of Canada

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