Lou Henry Hoover

Rapidan Camp

View all photos
The Hoovers’ “Brown House.” WhiskeyBristles (Atlas Obscura User)
“The Prime Minister” Cabin. WhiskeyBristles (Atlas Obscura User)
National Historic Landmark designation plaque. WhiskeyBristles (Atlas Obscura User)
“The Creel” was the residence of Hoover’s personal bodyguard and his personal physician during their visits. WhiskeyBristles (Atlas Obscura User)
Sign near bridge going to the camp. WhiskeyBristles (Atlas Obscura User)
Stream in the woods near Rapidan Camp. WhiskeyBristles (Atlas Obscura User)

When President Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou sought refuge from the bustle and heat of Washington, D.C., they were taken to a rural area nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, near the headwaters of the Rapidan River. Smitten with the place, the Hoovers immediately purchased 164 acres of the property and began planning the construction of the presidential retreat that would become Rapidan Camp.

Barboursville
Barboursville, Virginia

First Lady Lou Hoover took charge of planning of the camp, and U.S. Marines provided much of the labor under the auspices of a training exercise. This arrangement provoked a minor scandal and Hoover was forced to issue a statement stating that he would reimburse the federal government “for every nail and stick of wood.”

As Rapidan Camp neared completion in September of 1929, it had grown to encompass a complex of 13 cabins, supported by purpose built electrical…

Found: The Earliest Color Footage of the White House

Two years ago, an archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum was looking through the collection’s film reels, when she came across a series of films labeled “Kodacolor.” As the Washington Post reports, the films look black and white, but they had unusual lines on their frames. After the archivist, Lynn Smith, did some research, she realized that these were color films, that need a special filter to show their full potential.

Now, the library has had those reels preserved and digitized. The result: it’s now possible to view what may be the first color footage of the White House ever taken.

The films were shot by First Lady Lou Hoover. Her husband’s often thought of as a stuffy technocrat who failed to stop the…