Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hickory Lodge at Camp David

Hickory Lodge - 1956

The Hickory Lodge once housed a mess hall, galley, and barracks.  When new barracks were constructed on the other side of camp, Hickory began to be used for recreational purposes.  A two-lane bowling alley was built where the porch used to be.  The galley was converted to a bar and the mess deck was made into a movie theater.  Pool tables and a library were also added.

             David Eisenhower bowling in 1960                                     Bar and Lounge at Hickory in 1965

In 1977, President Carter began using the theater in Hickory Lodge as a chapel on Sunday mornings by utilizing a military field alter and hymnals from nearby Ft. Ritchie.  One newspaper article describes a 35-minute service held in Hickory cabin with an Army chaplain from Ft. Ritchie and attended by President Carter, his family and twenty local Marines.

President Carter's Daily Diary from the Jimmy Carter Library

During the Camp David Summit in 1978, President Carter attended a Jewish Sabbath meal in Hickory Lodge with Prime Minister and Mrs. Begin and other U.S. and Israeli officials.

President and Mrs. Carter at an Israeli dinner with the Begins during the Camp David Summit - Sept 8, 1978 

Hickory Lodge currently houses a bowling alleymovie theater, library, game room, restaurant/bar and the Shangri-La gift shop, where you can purchase Camp David souvenirs. The famous "Camp David" sign is also now located nearby.

Navy Supply Corps newsletter from 2003 encouraging personnel to "join the Camp David Team" provides an insider's view into the activities at Hickory:

"Storekeepers serve as night club managers during presidential visits in Hickory, which serves as the president's all hands club, and supervise the movie theater and bowling alley  ...  Ship's servicemen are responsible for the management of Shangri-La all hands club and game room. They perform their same shipboard functions operating vending services and the ship's store located in Hickory, which average annual sales in excess of $400,000.  Additionally, the ship's serviceman supervise the daily operations of the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Division, barber shop, mail order catalog business, and video arcade ...  As a member of our Guest Operations staff, you will assist in providing world class services through operation of 13 guest cabins, 2 conference centers, 12 VIP suites and the Mountain Top Cafe. "
Movie theater in Hickory Lodge - May 2001 (National Archives)

President Clinton and Chairman Arafat walk towards Hickory - July 2000

President George W. Bush in an interview with Chris Wallace in Hickory Lodge - 2008

President Obama shoots pool in Hickory Lodge after the G8 Summit in May 2012

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Afghanistan Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi in Hickory Lodge in March 2015 - See related post  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rachel McMarr)

Below is a view of Hickory Lodge as displayed on Google Earth:

Hickory Lodge - Google Earth

Sources:  Eisenhower Presidential Library; Ronald Reagan Library; UPI; Google Maps; Jimmy Carter Library; The President is at Camp David; PBS American Experience; Camp David Tour; Lewiston Daily Sun; Fox News Sunday; White House


  1. I am so pleased to hear that Camp David is opening its gates to all Americans. Even though I know I will not have the privilege of securing accommodations, still, if the goal of the President was to reach out to the American people and make them feel part of their government, this gesture is superb.

  2. Ben - I believe you are referring to a parody site about Camp David being open to the public. ( Sorry, not true.