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Rapidan Camp restored by Shenandoah National Park, showed by guides who trade lodging for tours
Cass Ray, a retired teacher from New York, has spent the summer
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By ROB HEDELT
That's why Marines diverted water to create a new stream that put running water, a waterfall and a trout pond just feet from the Brown House porch.
And why Mrs. Hoover had no compunction planting orchids and hostas around the grounds.
After Hoover was defeated in his bid for a second term, he donated the camp to the Virginia commission that created Shenandoah National Park, expressing his wish that it remain a presidential retreat.
Franklin Roosevelt visited the site with that in mind, but found its topography difficult for a man on crutches or in a wheelchair.
From the late 1930s until the 1990s, Rapidan Camp was used
When utilities serving key camp structures failed in 1996, it gave the park a chance to reconsider what the camp should be.
"The decision was wisely made to make this a museum and interpretive site open to the public," Engle said.
Since then, park staff have slowly and painstakingly restored and repaired the Brown House and the adjacent Prime Minister's House, pulling off modern additions and putting back their expansive porches.
Roofs and floors have been redone, sprinklers and security systems installed and furnishings sought and acquired.
At one juncture, that sent park officials to visit Navaho craftsmen to re-create rugs given to the Hoovers by various tribes.
Other work will come, possibly including the raising of skeletal buildings to show where the key structures were in Hoover's day.
That was a time when the country's First Couple hosted theme weekends for business or politics.
When they stayed connected
And when guests marveled at feeding tame trout in the Marine-built holding pond with the large chunks of beef heart that presidential staffers got each week from the best butchers in D.C.
For more information on the tours of Rapidan Camp, call Byrd Visitor Center at 540/999-3283. Information about the park is available at nps.gov/shen.
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