Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Holly Cabin - The Original Laurel Lodge

1961 photo of the former Laurel Lodge - now called Holly Cabin

The modern-day Holly Cabin was the original Laurel Lodge.  In 1970, a master plan was created for the renovation of Camp David.  The conference and dining facilities at Laurel Lodge were no longer considered adequate and plans were made to build a new Laurel Lodge in 1972 for $700,000.

President Eisenhower leaving the Cabinet Meeting

President Eisenhower held his Cabinet meetings and National Security Council meetings at the original Laurel Lodge while he was recovering from a heart attack in 1955.

The Eisenhower Library has a formerly top-secret memo from an NSC meeting held at Camp David in 1955 in which they discuss the "dangerous situation in Afghanistan".

President Eisenhower meets with his National Security Council in 1955

In 1961, President Kennedy had a letter sent to CIA Director Allen Dulles offering the use of the Laurel area whenever it would "be helpful to you in the performance of your office". Dulles was advised that a bill for costs incurred would be mailed to his office after each use.

Here you can see what the main rooms in the original Laurel Lodge looked like back in the 1960s.

Music room, reading room, and dining room in 1965

In 1978, President Carter chose Holly Cabin as the meeting place for the peace negotiations. He preferred the cozy atmosphere of the rooms in Holly to the formal conference facility at the new Laurel Lodge.  For entertainment, a pool table and movie projector were set up in Holly and 58 movies were shown over the course of the thirteen days of the summit.

Members of the U.S., Egyptian, and Israeli delegations meet in Holly Cabin in September 1978
Guests playing pool at Holly and the Carter family posing for photo with a guest - Christmas 1979

A glass case of photographs from those meetings is now displayed in Holly and a hand-written note of appreciation from President Carter to Prime Minister Begin hangs on the wall there. Holly is currently used for recreation and small meetings.

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair walk in front of Holly 

President Bush and Egyptian President Mubarak in front of Holly cabin in 2002

Secretary Kerry meets one-on-one with Afghan President Ghani in Holly Cabin in March 2015 (State Dept)

Google Maps satellite view of the Holly Cabin - at center.   (Cabin on the upper right is Hawthorn)

SourcesThe President is at Camp David; The New York Times; Camp David Tour; Life Magazine; Eisenhower Presidential Library; Jimmy Carter Library; Ronald Reagan Library; National Archives; US Navy; John F. Kennedy Presidential Library; The White House; State Department; CIA

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