Monday, August 16, 2010

Laurel Lodge at Camp David

Laurel Lodge is located about a quarter mile down the hill from the Aspen Lodge. Most official meetings and meals at Camp David take place at the Laurel Lodge.  Laurel has three conference rooms, a kitchen, a spacious dining area, and a small presidential office. The lodge was built in 1972.

The Nixon Daily Diary entry for May 6, 1972 includes the entry: "The President went to the New Laurel Lodge construction site". On August 8th, President Nixon hosted a dinner in the new Laurel Lodge  for members of the Cabinet, White House staff, and the Committee for the Reelection of the President.

The "new" Laurel Lodge replaced a smaller Laurel Lodge, which was then renamed Holly. A separate blog post features information about Holly Cabin, the original Laurel Lodge,

The newly-built Laurel Lodge in 1973 (Background information on this photo can be found in the Nixon blog post)

Laurel Lodge - 2012

In the early seventies when the new Laurel Lodge was being designed,  President Nixon requested that a small lounge be converted into an office for the President's use. 

President Ford discusses campaign strategy at his Laurel office  - Aug 1976     (Can you spot Dick Cheney?)

President Bush at work in his office - 1992  

Laurel Lodge is a favorite location for presidents to deliver their weekly addresses to the nation.  President Reagan delivered 150 weekly five-minute radio addresses from inside his Laurel office.

President Reagan gives a radio address to the nation - Oct 1982
President Clinton and President Bush also gave weekly radio addresses from Camp David

Laurel Lodge has been the site for many meetings over the years. There is a patio outside where tables and chairs can be set up so guests can have lunch outside.

President Ford hosts a luncheon for Indonesian President Suharto at Laurel Lodge - July 1975

President Carter hosts a luncheon for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat with U.S and Egyptian officials - February 1978

President Carter gives a tour to Israeli Prime Minister and Mrs. Begin. (Laurel Lodge is in the background) - 1978

David Stockman helps President Reagan prepare for an upcoming Presidential debate - October 1984

President Clinton watching football with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in Laurel in January 1998 (Read more about this)  (Photo Courtesy; William J. Clinton Presidential Library)

President Bush meets with National Security advisors from Laurel Lodge conference room on Sept 22, 2001 

President Bush meets with CIA director George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice and Andy Card - Sept 29, 2001

President Bush meets with Republican Congressional leaders - Jan 2002

Hillary Clinton writes about the Laurel Lodge in her book Living History:

"The center of Camp activity is the largest lodge, Laurel, where we gathered to watch
football, play games, sit in front of the two-story brick fireplace and eat our meals together.
After spending time there, I thought that the central room in Laurel could be more
functional and take better advantage of the view. There were few windows on the long
back wall facing the woods, and a large pillar blocked the flow of traffic through the
room. I worked with the Navy and my friend Kaki Hockersmith, an interior decorator
from Arkansas, to develop plans for a renovation that got rid of the pillar and added windows
to bring in more light, opening the room to the changing seasons outside."

President Bush meets with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in March 2003

President Bush talks to members of the Armed Forces on Christmas Eve in 2001 and 2003 

President Bush meets for lunch with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Defense Policy and Programs team and the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Policy team in August 2007 in Laurel Lodge 

President Bush was interviewed at Laurel Lodge in 2007

President Obama in his Laurel office - August 2011 

President Obama greets the leaders arriving for the G8 Summit at Camp David - May 2012

The G8 Summit working sessions were held in Laurel Lodge

G8 Leaders also met on the patio outside the Laurel Lodge

President Obama hosted a working lunch on food security at the G8 Summit

President Obama greets the GCC leaders in front of Laurel on May 14, 2015

Laurel Lodge and nearby cabins - Google Maps

Sources:  Nixon Presidential Library; Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library; Jimmy Carter Library; Ronald Reagan Presidential Library; George Bush Presidential Library; William J. Clinton Library; National Archives; The White House; CBS; Google Maps; The President is at Camp David; European Commission; Reuters; Getty

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