|Aspen Lodge in 1961|
Since 1942, thirteen Presidents have occupied this cabin at Camp David. The Aspen Lodge was originally named "The Bear's Den" by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It had a kitchen, living room, dining room, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and five fireplaces. A screened-in porch was connected to the living room and led out to a flagstone patio. A pond was built so there would be water available in case of a fire.
The lodge sits on top of a hill on a three-acre clearing. The large living room windows provide a magnificent view of the surrounding forest and countryside.
|Aspen Lodge layout in 1959|
|Front driveway entrance to the Aspen Lodge - 1962|
|Aspen Lodge 1961: Lower terrace Upper terrace|
|Outdoor cooking area next to Aspen's upper terrace - 1961|
|Aspen Lodge - 1965 - Living Room and guest bedroom|
President Nixon added a new swimming pool and an office to the Aspen Lodge during his presidency.
|The new Aspen pool in February 1971|
Apparently, Nancy Reagan made numerous enhancements to Camp David. In her memoirs she wrote "For me, one of the best parts about Camp David was that there wasn't a whisper of controversy about the renovations I made there and because the entire place is off-limits to the press, nobody ever knew what I did.". We do know she had the windows at Aspen lowered to improve the view; had some furniture slip-covered and painted; and made landscaping improvements.
Here are some Presidential photos that feature the Aspen Lodge over the years.
FDR and guests dining at Aspen Lodge in 1942 President Truman in his convertible outside Aspen in 1949
The Eisenhowers playing Scrabble at Aspen in 1954 President Eisenhower cooking outdoors at Aspen - 1960
|President Kennedy with naval aides in April 1961|
|President Johnson meeting with advisers in April 1968|
|President Nixon with Bob Hope in 1972|
|President Ford and family in the Aspen Lodge|
|Susan Ford in her bedroom in Aspen Lodge - March 1975|
|The Carters host a lunch for President and Mrs. Sadat at the Aspen Lodge - February 1978|
|President Carter meets with Menahem Begin and Anwar Sadat in his Aspen study - September 1978|
|President Reagan working at Aspen Lodge in Feb 1981|
|President Reagan writing the State of
the Union Address at |
|President Bush hosted President Gorbachev at Camp David in 1990.|
|President Clinton on terrace with Yasser Arafat in July 2000; Inside Aspen with Dennis Ross and Madeleine Albright|
|President and Mrs. Bush in a People Magazine interview in the Aspen Lodge|
In his 2010 book, Decision Points, President George W. Bush describes Aspen Lodge:
"Its interior is simple but comfortable. The wooden structure has three bedrooms, a perfect size for our family; a sunlit living room where I watched football with my brother Marvin and friends; and a stone fireplace beside which Laura and I liked to read at night".He also wrote that in the summer of 2007, Henry Hager met with him in the Aspen Lodge to ask for his permission to marry his daughter Jenna.
|President Obama having a water gun fight with daughter Sasha on her birthday weekend at Camp David - June 2011|
|President Obama meets with G8 leaders in the Aspen Lodge in May 2012|
|President Obama and Chancellor Merkel held a bilateral meeting on the Aspen terrace; Golf carts parked in front of Aspen|
While trying to find some recent information about the Aspen Lodge, I came across a website for Blue Dolphin Pools and Spas that describes its Telescope Casual line of patio furniture as follows:
"Style, durability and weather resistance is what Telescope Casual is all about. Steeped in history, the company has been the manufacturer of choice for many revered political figures including President John F. Kennedy. Telescope Casual products are still favored by many first ladies adorning their homes as well as Camp David."According to this article, President Clinton lounged on their deck chairs at Camp David during his term in office.
|Aspen Lodge - Google Maps satellite view|
Sources: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library; Harry S. Truman Library; Eisenhower Presidential Library; John F. Kennedy Presidential Library; Lyndon Baines Johnson Library; Richard Nixon Library; Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library; Jimmy Carter Library; Ronald Reagan Library; George Bush Presidential Library; The White House; The President is at Camp David; Lakeland Ledger; Decision Points; National Archives; Washington Institute for Near East Policy; People Magazine; Life; UPI; Google Maps