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Rapidan Camp


Rapidan Camp, Shenandoah National Park

Rapidan Camp, Shenandoah National Park

© Lauren Himiak

Also known as Camp Hoover, Rapidan Camp is located in Shenandoah National Park in and was built by President Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou Henry Hoover. It served as their rustic retreat throughout Hoover's administration from 1929 to 1933.

Away from Washington, D.C, President Hoover enjoyed fishing in the streams, while Mrs. Hoover liked riding horses at the 164 acre-camp. The first family's residential cabin was known as the "Brown House" in contrast to their more celebrated residence, the White House.

Though the press was rarely invited to Rapidan Camp, the President Hoover often invited U.S. and foreign leaders to discuss issues at hand, as well as to relax. One of the most popular guests was British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. If fact, he visited so often that one of the buildings was named “Prime Minister’s Cabin”.

Today, visitors may take a guided tour alongside a ranger of the grounds and remaining buildings - the Brown House (President's Cabin), the Prime Minister's Cabin, and the Creel. Keep in mind, photography is not allowed inside the President’s Cabin. Signs and old photos have been installed by the Park Service to help visitors understand life in 1931, the mid-point of the Hoover presidency.

How to get there: Rapidan Camp is accessible by a 4.1 mile (6 km) round-trip hike on Mill Prong Trail, which begins on Skyline Drive at Milam Gap (Mile 52.8). The National Park Service also offers guided van trips that leave from the Harry F. Byrd Visitor Center at Big Meadows.

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