Monday, September 13, 2010

Swimming Pools

Swimming pool at Aspen Lodge

There are two swimming pools at Camp David.   One is a figure-eight shaped pool located at the Aspen Lodge; the other one is a lap pool located on the far side of camp in the staff area near the gym.  The lap pool in the staff area was constructed when the camp was first built.  Because of its location, it was not used very often by the visiting presidents.

Original lap pool at Camp David located in the staff area of the camp;    Former bath house near the pool            

Aspen Lodge - before the pool

President Nixon wanted to have a new pool built near the Aspen Lodge.  He wanted it located in front of the main terrace to the left of the steps leading down.  Unfortunately, that also happened to be the location of the underground bomb shelter (which will be the subject of a future post).

The new pool cost $238,583, partly because they wanted to match the stone around Aspen Lodge and had to reopen the nearby quarry to get matching stone for the dressing room and the stone wall around the pool area.  For convenience, they installed nearby telephones with extra long cords so the President could talk on the phone poolside. The underground bomb shelter also had to be reinforced for an additional cost of $261,417.

The 40ft x 20ft pool was superheated and was used by President Nixon on a snowy December trip to Camp David.

Steam rises from the heated pool in February 1971

President Ford goes swimming over Labor Day weekend in 1974

President and Mrs. Ford with their dog Liberty - October 1974

The next two photos show the furniture, deck, diving board, and the nearby surroundings of the Aspen pool during the Carter Administration. President Carter wrote in his autobiography Sharing Good Times that his wife Rosalynn used to practice fly-fishing for hours by casting into the swimming pool at Camp David.

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and President Carter chat next to the Aspen pool - Sept 1978

This photo taken from the opposite direction shows the side view from the pool deck

President Obama and daughter Sasha enjoying her birthday weekend at Camp David - June 2011

While searching for some more recent news about the Camp David pools, I came across a website for Hohne Pools which proudly states:
"The Hohne latest client list includes the Secretary of the Navy for President of the United States pool at Camp David, the US Secret Service indoor training tank, used for the Presidents water safety training, the US Embassy in Cameroon, West Africa and the US Naval Academy."
On another page of the Hohne website,  they refer to "creating works of art for Camp David".  However, their yellow pages ad says they were "Invited to specify all renovation and repairs to the Presidential pools at Camp David".  So, it is hard to determine exactly what they have done to the pool there. Unfortunately (though not surprisingly), there were no photos of the Camp David pool on their website. A PDF on their site indicates that work was done on both the President's pool and the staff pool at the retreat.

Staff pool at Camp David. The enclosure was added at some point during the Obama Administration.

I also happened to notice in the Google Maps satellite view what appeared to be a hot tub nearby.  A quick Google search confirmed it.  The Hot Tub Oasis website has a "Master Spa at Camp David" page that tells us:
"The White House has chosen a Master Spa LSX1050 to be installed at Camp David, in Maryland."   and also  "Master Spas is proud to have world leaders soak in the "Ultimate Relaxation Machine™". 
Again, no actual Camp David hot tub photo on their website.  The Hot Tub Oasis website does not say when the new hot tub was installed at Camp David, but a comment on a discussion board in 2007 refers to the hot tub as "President Bush's".

Google Maps satellite view of the pool at the Aspen Lodge. 

Google Maps satellite view of the staff pool. (Prior to the addition of the pool enclosure)

Sources:  LBJ Library; Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library; Richard Nixon Library; The White House; Camp David TourThe President is at Camp David; The Milwaukee Journal; Sharing Good Times; U.S. Navy; Google Maps

1 comment:

  1. Wished they had the roof on the staff pool when I was there 82-3, was available only during the summer. Also swam in the Aspen pool once. Had to remove the solar cover, stripped naked and swam for about 5 minutes . The corporal of the guard nor the “heavies” at Buckeye were none the wiser !